Benefits of Brexit for Britain

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:11 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:02 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 11:59 pm

Is that because they're pissed off over the recent Dutch high court ruling ordering them to comply with human rights legislation and by extension the Paris Agreement?
There's a summary here https://qz.com/2089366/why-shell-is-mov ... to-the-uk/ that cites multiple factors and the largest seems like the Dutch dividend tax that also got Unilever to move
Ok thanks. They do seem to be avoiding a rapid reduction in fossil carbon assets, though. Whatever their public statements, I'd love to read a lawyer's take on whether the Dutch ruling still applies, or if they can now rely on enforcement via Sunak's new thing announced at COP26.

Anyway, it doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Brexit (as the UK was able to not have a dividend tax while in the EU). Can I ask why you posted it here claiming it as a Brexit benefit? I'm particularly interested in your faith.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:14 am

"If this decision will enable the company to be more agile in order to execute its transition to net zero, then it should be viewed positively," said Adam Matthews, chief responsible investment officer at Church of England Pensions Board, a Shell shareholder.
f.cking lol
Matthews, who is leading talks with Shell on behalf of the investor group Climate Action 100+, said it should not remove Shell's responsibility to implement the Dutch court ruling.

Shell said the change would not change the impact of the court decision.
https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/shell- ... 021-11-15/

Fair enough then. Could be all about the dividends.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:19 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:11 am
Anyway, it doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Brexit (as the UK was able to not have a dividend tax while in the EU). Can I ask why you posted it here claiming it as a Brexit benefit? I'm particularly interested in your faith.
Because I expect that part of their belief they can more easily transition to carbon net zero here is related to being outside the single market; they'll be able to innovate more rapidly in our increasingly laissez faire environment and are more likely to get state support to do so.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:22 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:19 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:11 am
Anyway, it doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Brexit (as the UK was able to not have a dividend tax while in the EU). Can I ask why you posted it here claiming it as a Brexit benefit? I'm particularly interested in your faith.
Because I expect that part of their belief they can more easily transition to carbon net zero here is related to being outside the single market; they'll be able to innovate more rapidly in our increasingly laissez faire environment and are more likely to get state support to do so.
That seems fair. That's my expectation too, to be honest - the UK is going to talk big and deliver less on the climate front than the EU, I expect. They'll probably be harbouring loads of dirty companies, along with the US, Russia and the Gulf states, as the rest of the world feebly tries to tariff them into submission (while on fire).
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:30 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:22 am
sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:19 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:11 am
Anyway, it doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Brexit (as the UK was able to not have a dividend tax while in the EU). Can I ask why you posted it here claiming it as a Brexit benefit? I'm particularly interested in your faith.
Because I expect that part of their belief they can more easily transition to carbon net zero here is related to being outside the single market; they'll be able to innovate more rapidly in our increasingly laissez faire environment and are more likely to get state support to do so.
That seems fair. That's my expectation too, to be honest - the UK is going to talk big and deliver less on the climate front than the EU, I expect. They'll probably be harbouring loads of dirty companies, along with the US, Russia and the Gulf states, as the rest of the world feebly tries to tariff them into submission (while on fire).
And China, and India. The 'rest of the world' isn't going to be very big.

America's main differences are probably going to be about shale gas. The UK put it under moratorium in 2019 (whatever you think of Boris his other half wants to be green and he really can't afford another divorce). Obama's unlocking of shale gas in the US was spun as a green initiative and had a big impact on energy prices for US industry - it was significantly responsible for lowering global energy prices.

I don't think the UK will be that pro-Carbon, but it will have more relaxed rules in lots of other areas that make it more attractive to run a business here.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:33 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:30 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:22 am
sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:19 am


Because I expect that part of their belief they can more easily transition to carbon net zero here is related to being outside the single market; they'll be able to innovate more rapidly in our increasingly laissez faire environment and are more likely to get state support to do so.
That seems fair. That's my expectation too, to be honest - the UK is going to talk big and deliver less on the climate front than the EU, I expect. They'll probably be harbouring loads of dirty companies, along with the US, Russia and the Gulf states, as the rest of the world feebly tries to tariff them into submission (while on fire).
And China, and India. The 'rest of the world' isn't going to be very big.
True, not after 3°C worth of sea-level rise ;)
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by Martin_B » Thu Nov 18, 2021 1:33 am

sheldrake wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:46 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:14 pm
sheldrake wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:10 pm
Main concern with hydrogen for me is how explosive and easily ignited it is. Somebody with a chemical engineering degree reassure me pls.
Is it any worse than petrol or jet fuel in that respect?
Yes, it a) can leak more easily b) is easier to ignite c) can react with ferrous pipes to make them brittle and d) can burn with a flame that's hard to see so that you accidentally walk into it.

Until somebody with the right kind of engineering experience can explain how we've gotten much better at handling it I would be very nervous about running my domestic boiler off it, for example.
I have a degree in chemical engineering and have worked for 25 years with pressurised flammable fluids (usually known as the oil and gas industry). Although I do understand that you shouldn't argue from a place of expertise and just say "trust me, I'm an expert", if I had to list all my references for the below it'd be an insanely long post!

a) Yes. Hydrogen molecules are smaller than methane (the main constituent in natural gas) or the molecules in petrol (mainly octane) and jet fuel (lots of aromatic compounds). The smaller the molecule, the better the seals between, eg, valves and pipes or pipe-to-pipe flanges, have to be. Natural gas transmission systems keep the quantity of fugitive emissions very low (much lower than, eg, water pipelines) but if you carry hydrogen in a system designed for natural gas the quantity of fugitive emissions could be an order of magnitude or more higher.

As an aside, it's not always about the size of the molecules, as jet fuel carried in a system designed for natural gas will also result in high fugitive emissions, as the butane, toluene, etc in jet fuel can destroy any elastomeric seals which typically get used for natural gas. It's not just a matter of better seals with smaller gaps, but also the interactions of the materials used. See also c) below.

b) Yes. Hydrogen is easier to ignite in two ways. Firstly, it requires much less energy to ignite (typically about ~10% of natural gas) so while natural gas requires an induced spark to ignite it, hydrogen can ignite from static electricity (and the flow of gas can sometimes create it's own spark large enough to ignite!) If there is a black surface exposed to the sun, this can ignite hydrogen without even a spark. Secondly, while natural gas needs to be in a concentration of 5-15% in air to sustain a fire (lower than 5% and there's not enough fuel, higher than 15% and there's too much fuel and it starves itself of oxygen) hydrogen will ignite in concentrations of 4%-75% in air. This means that any release of hydrogen is far more likely to ignite than a release of natural gas. By contrast, releases of petrol and jet fuel are actually quite difficult to ignite.

c) Yes. Hydrogen can cause embrittlement of steel (and other materials, but pipes are usually steel). This embrittlement, also known as hydrogen induced cracking, is worse with harder steels, so you'd be better off using a 'weaker' steel which requires a thicker wall for the same pressure rating. Any copper pipes in your home would fair even worse, as copper alloys usually include oxygen, which the hydrogen will react with to create water microbubbles within the copper pipe. Needless to say, this isn't what you want!

d) Yes. Hydrogen burning is a simple equation (hydrogen + oxygen = water) and burns with a flame which is almost invisible. Mind you, methane burns with an almost invisible flame, too, and the flame which you can see in your boiler/hob is mainly caused by impurities which are added to make the flame and smell more noticeable. If hydrogen were used for domestic supply, then I would expect these impurities (typically mercaptans) to be added to the hydrogen, too, and probably in greater quantities than for natural gas.

We had a discussion here (or possibly the old place) about plans to add up to 20% hydrogen into natural gas for domestic supply. To me that's a really bad idea, as you increase the amount of fugitive emissions and reduce the safety of domestic appliances whilst still needing 80% of the natural gas (possibly more like 85-90%, as hydrogen doesn't release as much energy when it burns).

If you are going to transport hydrogen you need to do it in a transmission system designed for hydrogen, not one designed for natural gas and with crossed fingers. Retro-fitting a natural gas transmission system to be compatible with hydrogen would probably cost at least as much as just creating a new purpose-built hydrogen transmission system.

Also, your domestic boiler couldn't run properly off hydrogen without replacing the burners, sensors and control system, which would probably be as expensive as buying a new, hydrogen-designed boiler. Even ovens, hobs, gas fires would need modifications or new appliances to operate using hydrogen as a fuel rather than natural gas.

The internal combustion engine doesn't cope well with switching the fuel from petrol to diesel or vice versa, and the difference between natural gas and hydrogen is substantially greater than the difference between petrol and diesel. Just because hydrogen and natural gas are both flammable gases doesn't mean that they are compatible. The old phrase IABMCTT comes in very handy here!
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by bjn » Thu Nov 18, 2021 7:23 am

Thanks for the very informative digression Martin.

Another issue with H2 is the volumetric energy density, which is only 1/3 that of methane at any given pressure. This means pipes need to be 3 times the size, or carry gas at three times the pressure. That also impacts storage, so you need a vessel 3x the size of natural gas, which can’t work in a range of situations. Which is why you end up with insane things like the Toyota Mirai having 85 kg H2 tanks at 10,000 PSI to hold only 5kg of H2. Cryogenic storage is an other option, however both pressurising and cooling incur a large energy cost.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by plodder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:44 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:19 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:11 am
Anyway, it doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Brexit (as the UK was able to not have a dividend tax while in the EU). Can I ask why you posted it here claiming it as a Brexit benefit? I'm particularly interested in your faith.
Because I expect that part of their belief they can more easily transition to carbon net zero here is related to being outside the single market; they'll be able to innovate more rapidly in our increasingly laissez faire environment and are more likely to get state support to do so.
Harbouring and encouraging a major global polluter who would not survive in the EU is not a benefit.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:04 am

plodder wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 8:44 am
sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:19 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:11 am
Anyway, it doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Brexit (as the UK was able to not have a dividend tax while in the EU). Can I ask why you posted it here claiming it as a Brexit benefit? I'm particularly interested in your faith.
Because I expect that part of their belief they can more easily transition to carbon net zero here is related to being outside the single market; they'll be able to innovate more rapidly in our increasingly laissez faire environment and are more likely to get state support to do so.
Harbouring and encouraging a major global polluter who would not survive in the EU is not a benefit.
They would survive in the EU, the dutch PM didnt want them to move their HQ. They will still be doing business in the netherlands, just not paying their dividends from there. They’ve moved their HQ, not ceased all EU operations.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by plodder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:25 am

So please spell out how the UK gov propping up an ailing industrial dinosaur is a benefit?
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:50 am

plodder wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:25 am
So please spell out how the UK gov propping up an ailing industrial dinosaur is a benefit?
Because it's a boon for UK employment and it gives us some more opportunity to push ahead looking for new economically viable forms of low-carbon energy.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by Lew Dolby » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:14 am

Hang on. We don't as yet know how many HQ workers will move to the UK and it's their HQ that's moving , not operations (which I assume includes research). so NO ! to both.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by lpm » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:15 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:50 am
plodder wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:25 am
So please spell out how the UK gov propping up an ailing industrial dinosaur is a benefit?
Because it's a boon for UK employment and it gives us some more opportunity to push ahead looking for new economically viable forms of low-carbon energy.
What on earth makes you think it's a boon for UK employment?
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:20 am

lpm wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:15 am
sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:50 am
plodder wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:25 am
So please spell out how the UK gov propping up an ailing industrial dinosaur is a benefit?
Because it's a boon for UK employment and it gives us some more opportunity to push ahead looking for new economically viable forms of low-carbon energy.
What on earth makes you think it's a boon for UK employment?
HQ here instead of Amsterdam. Staff relocating and there will be new hires to make
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by individualmember » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:36 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:20 am
lpm wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:15 am
sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:50 am


Because it's a boon for UK employment and it gives us some more opportunity to push ahead looking for new economically viable forms of low-carbon energy.
What on earth makes you think it's a boon for UK employment?
HQ here instead of Amsterdam. Staff relocating and there will be new hires to make
Don't you mean HQ only here instead of joint HQs both here and in the Netherlands. I believe the corporate HQ near Waterloo was the tallest building in the UK for a period (in the early 1960s).
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:38 am

individualmember wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:36 am
Don't you mean HQ only here instead of joint HQs both here and in the Netherlands.
Yes, and tax residence to the UK. This will involve jobs growth in the UK HQ
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by plodder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:45 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:38 am
individualmember wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:36 am
Don't you mean HQ only here instead of joint HQs both here and in the Netherlands.
Yes, and tax residence to the UK. This will involve jobs growth in the UK HQ
You've just said they'll probably be given state support though. That state support could be spent doing something more productive and forward-looking.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by jaap » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:47 am

individualmember wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:36 am
I believe the corporate HQ near Waterloo was the tallest building in the UK for a period (in the early 1960s).
Here's a newsreel of what that office was like in 1963.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:53 am

plodder wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:45 am

You've just said they'll probably be given state support though. That state support could be spent doing something more productive and forward-looking.
Shell have been investing in alternative energy for a while. Who would you rather give state aid to?
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by lpm » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:56 am

Oh Sheldrake, mate, you've got a vision of an HQ that's decades out of date. This is sad. Even pre-Covid any company's HQ was just a figurehead.

A handful of people will relocate from Amsterdam to the UK. This is not a boon to Brits seeking employment. There will be redundancies in the UK and Netherlands, because there always are, but most people will stay in their locations.

The standard UK model is now a small "headquarters" office of about 50 desks in London for directors, large 500 desk office in Basingstoke or Harlow or Slough where the actual central functions of an HQ happen, office in Netherlands for other central functions for tax reasons, large office in Bangalore or similar for accounting, IT and customer care functions.

You're stuck in the 1960s when 10,000 people would work in Shell Headquarters. That was over by the 1990s with Shell starting to shut down parts of the huge complex at Waterloo. For a couple of decades it's been boarded up, with bits turned into shops and restaurants and the rest waiting redevelopment. All those "headquarters" jobs have long since been dispersed around the globe.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:03 am

lpm wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:56 am
Oh Sheldrake, mate, you've got a vision of an HQ that's decades out of date. This is sad. Even pre-Covid any company's HQ was just a figurehead.

A handful of people will relocate from Amsterdam to the UK. This is not a boon to Brits seeking employment.
I have plenty of experience working at multinational corporations, thanks LPM.

So your contention is that there will be no increase of Shell's employment in the UK as a result of its HQ being based here?

I don't believe you. Neither, it seems, does the Dutch government
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by plodder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:05 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:53 am
plodder wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:45 am

You've just said they'll probably be given state support though. That state support could be spent doing something more productive and forward-looking.
Shell have been investing in alternative energy for a while. Who would you rather give state aid to?
A firm that didn't also invest billions in fossil fuels?
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by lpm » Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:17 am

sheldrake wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:03 am
lpm wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:56 am
Oh Sheldrake, mate, you've got a vision of an HQ that's decades out of date. This is sad. Even pre-Covid any company's HQ was just a figurehead.

A handful of people will relocate from Amsterdam to the UK. This is not a boon to Brits seeking employment.
I have plenty of experience working at multinational corporations, thanks LPM.

So your contention is that there will be no increase of Shell's employment in the UK as a result of its HQ being based here?

I don't believe you. Neither, it seems, does the Dutch government
There will be no increase of Shell's employment of Brits in the UK as a result of its HQ being based here.

With all your experience you'll presumably be able to point to plenty of companies that have increased employee numbers at their formal head office over the last 30 years.
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Re: Benefits of Brexit for Britain

Post by sheldrake » Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:33 am

plodder wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:05 am


A firm that didn't also invest billions in fossil fuels?
Shell need to find a way to be relevant when fossil fuels are completely regulated away. I think they've got enormous incentives to work on things like carbon sequestering for 'blue' hydrogen, wind & solar etc.. not because they're nice people but because they'll need to do that to still have a business in 50 years.
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