Our Analytics 31 january — 08:30

Opposition protests, Ilham Aliyev builds (War of worlds)

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BY ELNUR MAMMADOV

Recently, the Azerbaijani opposition has again become infected with a rally virus. But, as it happened more than once before, the rally sanctioned by the city authorities for the second time this year 'inspired' our oppositionists so much that opponents of the authorities immediately went against the police, trying to sow discord in the country and cause alarm among the population. After the first speeches, the socio-economic slogans acquired a political tone demanding the resignation of the legitimate authorities, who, they said, were unable to improve the well-being of the people. And, as always, these attempts were easily stopped, order in the city could not be broken.

Against this background, at the direction of President Ilham Aliyev, the Baku Steel Company OJSC in Sumgayit began construction of a new industrial plant, a steel plant. The announcement of the construction of a new plant was made in December last year during the opening ceremony after the complete reconstruction of the Sumgayit Pipe Rolling Plant. The value of this plant for the country's economy is so great that the head of state with particular attention familiarised himself with the latest technological process, which the plant was provided after reconstruction. It was obvious that the new production did not leave the president indifferent.

And then the head of state was reported on the new opportunities. They turned out to be so attractive that the head of state gave relevant instructions to the management of the company itself, as well as to the ministers and heads of other departments accompanying him, aimed at accomplishing this task as soon as possible. So, they just managed to start up one plant, as the team immediately received a command about the need to build a new one. What were these proposals that the president did not hesitate to implement?

There were only two of them. The first proposal envisaged the expansion of the production capacity of the enterprise put into operation up to 300 thousand tonnes per year. And the second proposal, the resolution of which, given the complexity of its implementation and material intensity, the company intended to begin later, provided for the provision of a full technological cycle, starting from the steel-making process to the production of finished pipes.

For people unfamiliar with the metallurgical sphere, these proposals may say little. And in order to present the scope of work the companies will have to complete, we will give small examples.

Thus, for the transportation of 300 thousand tonnes of steel casting per year, approximately 10 thousand railway carriages will be required. And it’s really hard to imagine a full technological cycle from the steel-making process to the production of finished pipes. Sumgayit people remember well the ever-smoking pipe-rolling plant inherited from the former USSR, spread out over hundreds of hectares, where thousands of people worked. But this plant itself did not produce cast steel.

By the will of the founding fathers of the country of soviets, the Dashkesan iron ore was transported from Azerbaijan to Georgia. The steel smelted there at the Rustavi Metallurgical Plant was transported to Sumgayit, where the final product, pipes, was produced. And now all this has to be focused on one plant, in a relatively small area. It is not difficult to guess that all this will require a lot of money and time. Means and time are really needed, but not billions of dollars and years of construction work, as the reader might think. The investment program developed by the company provides for an amount of only $30 million. The program provides for an investment period of 14 months, and the implementation of this program began already at the end of December last year. In the implementation of this project will participate a total of 800 people.

Yes, taking into account the equipment that is planned to be installed here, the cost of the object and the time frame for its construction really seem incredibly small. Had the plant been a state enterprise, perhaps it would indeed have been built for several years, and it would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars - our officials, either because of laziness, or for other reasons, know how to inflate the terms and cost of facilities under construction. There are many examples where, say, an ordinary school without special tricks is built over the years and costs the state 5-8 million manats. And here the owner is a private company that can and does value both time and money.

And the equipment of the new steel plant is really complicated and expensive. The main ones are, of course, a 40-tonne arc steel-smelting furnace and a two-strand continuous casting machine of billets with a radius of 12 m, equipped with a system of magnetic stirring of liquid steel in a sleeve, as well as the technology of closed-casting of liquid steel. High-purity steel for the production of seamless pipes will be got from using a special unit - a vacuum cleaner to remove non-metallic inclusions in a vacuum environment with the flushing of liquid steel with argon. It is also necessary to install here a ladle furnace for out-of-furnace treatment of steel using inert gas and another ladle furnace (5 MVA) and a filter-compensating device to prevent interference in the power grid. After listing such complex systems, talking about the usual bridge cranes with a lifting capacity of 60, 40 and 15 tonnes, powerful transformers and other equipment, including the environmental direction, is somehow inconvenient.

But all this will allow the new plant to provide 550 new jobs. After putting it into operation, the enterprise’s export potential will be more than tripled from 60 thousand tonnes to 200 thousand tonnes of pipes per year. In addition, it will be possible to export about 100 thousand tonnes of pipe billet. That is, the plant, having invested 30 million dollars, will be able to annually receive hundreds of millions of dollars in export earnings. But there are still internal needs...

Government and opposition. Ideally, they should complement each other in the most important thing - serving the people. But in our country they live and act in different worlds. Government builds for the people, doing everything to improve their well-being. And the opposition builds its activity on nihilism, a priori rejecting government on behalf of the people. Who would the people prefer is not so hard to guess...

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