Exclusive Interview With Mr Azer Quliyev, Chief Executive Officer, Siemens AG Osterreich Office in Azerbaijan.
Siemens, which has a 173-year-long history, built the first power station in the village of Galakand in Gadabay in 1883, thus laying the foundation of the Azerbaijani energy system. We would like you to tell our readers about the activities of Siemens in Azerbaijan.
AT: In May 2019 Siemens AG announced the spin-off of Siemens Gas and Power, later Siemens Energy. What prompted the company management to take this step?
This step reduced complexity as for internal company procedures, as well as for customers and partners. In general, the new company Siemens Energy established through spin-off enabled a clear focus on meeting customer needs in power generation, power transmission and related areas.
AT: When did Siemens start cooperating with the power sector of Azerbaijan and what major projects has it implemented so far?
If we are talking about recent cooperation and the biggest projects, it started with the Rehabilitation Project in 1998 financed by KfW. In 2005 Siemens got the biggest non-oil project in Azerbaijan at that time – 505MW Sumgait Power Plant. We also can add 330/110kV air insulated substation Agcabedi and 220/110/10kV gas insulated substation Boyuk Shor to the list of major projects.
AT: The Azerenergy open joint-stock company is currently implementing large-scale reconstruction work as part of the Rehabilitation Programme that covers 2018-2021. What kind of work is Siemens doing in connection with this programme?
Digital Grid unit of Siemens Austria Smart Infrastructure Business designed, delivered and commissioned new generation protection and control units SIPROTEC 5 for 220 /110kV/10KV Khirdalan AIS within the framework of the mentioned Rehabilitation Program. Just a few days ago we signed the next contract for 220/110/35/10/6kV Gala AIS, where we will also implement SIPROTEC 5 generation. New established Siemens Energy already installed 4 units 250 MVA transformers at Gobu AIS and high voltage equipment of the new 550/330/220kV Absheron AIS. All these substations are part of Rehabilitation Program 2018-2021.
AT: The development of digital technologies makes it possible to faciliate the work process and reduce the cost of products. The speedy automation of production gradually reduces the need for human labour. What kind of work is Siemens doing to save jobs?
We want and need to take people with us. There will never be a factory without people; that’s not our way of thinking. People will remain the decisive factor in the future. You just have to look at the global figures. Siemens today has more jobs than ever before. What has changed a lot, however, are the job profiles, as well as the requirements.
AT: The world economy is faced with an unprecedented crisis because of COVID-19. Did the pandemic have any impact on the activities of Siemens?
The pandemic has an impact nearly on all fields and activities in the world. Siemens was able to adapt his activities to so called “new normal”. We hope that vaccination will help to defeat the pandemic. All our colleagues of the Representative Office in Azerbaijan are vaccinated and following respective instructions recommended as preventive measures by specialists. It’s the only way to return to normal life.
AT:What sectors of the Azerbaijani economy are attractive to you in the next five years?
Siemens has a diverse portfolio in almost all sectors. Sectors such as Utility and Industry are the most attractive ones for us. For the upcoming years we will implement Siemens Smart Solutions and Technologies. Next month, the Smart Infrastructure Digital Grid department will complete the SCADA system upgrade at the Main Dispatcher Center of Azerishiq JSC. Newly installed product line Siemens Spectrum Power 7, latest development in the long history of Siemens Control Center Solutions, will support Azerishiq in improving service quality as well as in facing new challenges in the future. Siemens is interested in the city infrastructure projects as well. Last 5 years we delivered 5 new substations for power supply of Bakimetropoliteni CJSC.
AT: How do assess the business environment created for foreign businessmen in Azerbaijan?
I am working for almost 20 years for Siemens in Azerbaijan. The business environment in Azerbaijan improved a lot over the last years, as it is also stated by reports of independent international institutions. Azerbaijan nowadays is ranked on the 34th place among 190 countries in the ease of doing business, according to World Bank’s “Doing Business 2020 report”.