Maksim Zagornov discusses Russian energy sector at WETEX 2019

Maksim Zagornov discusses Russian energy sector at WETEX 2019

/ News & Interviews / Tuesday, 19 November 2019 07:38

At WETEX this year, Energy Review secured an exclusive interview with Maksim Zagornov, Business Russia’s Business Ambassador in the UAE, to discuss the energy sector in Russia and the company’s presence in the UAE.

“Business Russia” is an all-Russian public organization which includes over 3,000 entrepreneurs, mainly from high-tech non-resource businesses; it now has 85 offices within Russia and are progressively expanding across the world.

Maksim is a seasoned industry professional with an educational background in aerospace and electrical engineering. He is also a General Council member at Business Russia and the assistant to the first deputy chairman of the committee on energy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

Could you tell us about your background and give us a brief overview about your role at Business Russia and its mission in the UAE?

Before I came to Business Russia, I had a fairly successful path in the energy business: in 2005 I created an engineering company - the MKS Group of Companies, which was engaged in the construction of turnkey power plants. At that time, in Russia there was a rather noticeable gap in meeting the demand for electricity; moreover, the cost of electricity for small and medium-sized enterprises increased significantly. Against this background, the idea arose of creating such a company, which over the 15 years of its existence has grown into a large international corporation with its offices in Germany, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates.

When I joined Business Russia, I was already an accomplished businessman who knew all the problems of the energy industry from the inside. I joined the General Council of the business association, and a little while later, was appointed to the post of business ambassador of Business Russia to the United Arab Emirates.

Business Russia advocates the interests of Russian businesses in foreign markets and in turn, creates new opportunities for partnerships with existing companies and to help entrepreneurs find new opportunities in other markets. My main task as a business ambassador to the UAE is to provide advice to Russian companies wishing to enter or strengthen their positions in the market of the United Arab Emirates. But I must say that I render similar assistance to the emirate companies wishing to find reliable partners from Russia.

The most successful cooperation of the Russian and Emirati business is in the energy sector. So our company MKC GROUP DMCC, at the moment, has begun to create modular power plants in the United Arab Emirates. We are implementing these projects with one of our most respected partners, Caterpillar, and we carry out all turnkey work. In fact, the most important feature of our power plants is that they are of a module type so we can make them from one megawatt up to 100 megawatts because they have to be assembled one after the other.

The world trend in energy now is moving towards distributed power generators and we are paying particular attention to this trend and have been developing projects that are relevant to it. The source of generation of the power plants is situated or installed right on the site of the enterprise of the client and these power plants are in fact, very little and mobile, so over time, every enterprise will not need to use the grid electricity system anymore, but the gas-piston power plant instead.

A good way to describe this would be if you look back at the history of the telephone, they used to have wires and cables whereas now, with our mobile phones, we are able to move freely as they are wireless. So this is quite similar to the trend for electricity power plants; rather than depending on the grid, we can now put it on any given site, wherever the client needs it to be.

Could you provide us with a comment on the current situation of the energy sector in Russia?

Energy in Russia has developed historically in the direction of consolidation of capacities and centralization. Currently, more than 80% of large power plants in Russia are over 40 years old. Therefore, now there are acute issues of modernization of the entire energy system. We believe that in the near future we will have a shortage of energy in Russia, due to outgoing capacities and growing demand with the development of the economy. Small and medium-sized businesses solve energy supply issues through the development of their own generation. Such electricity is 2-3 cheaper. That is why we are developing distributed generation projects in our country, as a good alternative to centralized power supply for small and medium-sized businesses and remote sites.

Business Russia is one of the largest business organizations in your country with a significant investment volume. Could you tell us in which area of the energy sector Business Russia sees the most opportunity in?

First of all, Business Russia is a public organization, which is comprised of medium-sized businesses based in Russia. This gives us the ability to easily facilitate with other companies that fall under the cluster of Business Russia. We have a highly developed structure of management at this public organization and this business structure is backed by the government of Russia.

This year we opened the office of Business Russia in the UAE, and our activities have found support from the governments of the UAE and Russia. In particular, Business Russia’s strategy for promoting the UAE market was included in the final protocol of the Russian-Emirati Intergovernmental Commission, which met on October 13 in Abu Dhabi. This means that the implementation of Russian-Emirate projects of Business Russia is taken over by the governments of both countries.

Today, Business Russia unites more than 3 thousand companies of various profiles. The total annual revenue of the Business Russia companies is $ 30 billion. The total investment is $ 23 billion. Such indicators are of particular interest to partners from the UAE. And given the wide range of goods and services that Business Russia can offer, the likelihood of implementing joint projects is quite high.

I must note that we have received great interest from the Chamber of Commerce in Sharjah, and we recently signed a big agreement with them. They have a great offer to produce products here in the UAE with our partners in the Middle East, and then go to the markets of neighboring countries.

Business Russia has various programs, and our 35 ambassadors are present in different countries of the world. Today, Business Russia is very strong. Moreover, the development of international activities, including in the United Arab Emirates, remains our strategic priority.

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