Thursday 9 May 2024

Where will the engineers come from?

Recently we aired the thesis that the oil & gas majors (Exxon, Shell, BP, Total, Equinor et al) have effectively given up on net zero and, with greater or lesser degrees of 'green camouflage', intend to be sure of their share of many more decades of mainstream hydrocarbon business.  Shell was Exhibit 'A'.  Now we read

Shell to close Chinese green power generation business            Decision comes amid wider Western exodus from communist country

Warm, fuzzy  ...  pic: Octopus Energy, of course! 
Their London HQ really is like that
That's interesting for another reason.  The other day I met a senior Shell bod who told me they can't recruit UK or US new-graduate engineers for love nor money.  They can't even retain the ones they've got.  Apparently, GenZ kids don't much want to be engineers anyway; and those that do, want to save the planet in some cosy, purple-Octopus manner.  I'm guessing these kids hope this all comes to pass without their being made to do Hard Sums, too. 

So: to which universities does Shell go with its recruiting campaigns these days, then?   Ans: those of the Far East, almost exclusively.  It's not just the source of underpaid care workers and nail-bar slaves, then.

The Greens hope(d) to winkle the oil & gas cos out via ESG & investment boycotts, but that doesn't seem to be working as planned.  If Green indoctrination starves them of home-nation staff, but can't prevent bright, diligent, mobile Chinese / Malay / Vietnamese / Filipino engineers from filling their ranks, a decade from now, those oil & gas companies are going to have a very odd profile.

Perhaps the Army could also recruit there, too?  The Gurkhas have always been enthusiastic recruits.  And I bet you wouldn't need to worry about all that pronoun nonsense that's infected the Armed Forces these days.



Anonymous said...

So what are home grown engineering grads going into? Still the city/finance? Or maybe they are smart enough to see the writing on the wall and are training to be diversity co-ordinators instead?

jim said...

Engineering was made terminally naff by Blue Peter and Tomorrow's World.

Long long ago school encouraged oiks to be nuclear physicists and/or Russian translators. Too thick, didn't fancy that. Later on met those nuclear physicists working as computer programmers - no money/work in nuke. The Russian translators washed up as book editors - no money in Russian. Message - whatever government encourages - don't.

In my industrial training the senior engineers wasted no time declaring 'no way my kids are going into engineering - no money. They're going to be lawyers or beancounters'. Back then Mr Weinstock had a firm grip on wage rates and computers were attractive young ladies with a strong calculator arm.

Later on in consultancy discovered where all the spare physicists, mathematicians, chemists, engineers, psychologists and assorted BS merchants went. Wise to keep quiet about knowing too much tech but making sure you read the latest HBR and could spiel it for 5 minutes was the road to success. Being able to size up a job was a sought after skill. A little further up the class system nice people aspired to a job at the BBC or one of the better regulators so I'm told.

So the merry go round goes. Sooner or later China will develop aesthetics degrees and snobbery and nice kids will want to become Mandarins and the baton of integral calculus will pass on to others. Which leaves the West having a long ride round the wheel still to come.

BlokeInBrum said...

As part of the panic regarding Chinese dominance of electronics & manufacturing, the Biden regime is now trying to onshore a lot of chip making.
Unfortunately, when TSMC looked at opening new (multi billion $$) chip fabs in America it was stymied by the DEI requirements. Which is why they are now looking at moving production to Japan and South Korea.
Sucks if you're an American graduate, especially if you're white and male.

Matt said...

Surely a lot of the engineers from the Middle East we're granting asylum to must have some O&G experience?

john in cheshire said...

When I was working for one of the majors in the 1990s and early 2000s, I attended a high level company meeting which talked about the 'environment'. And as I walked out of the meeting I was heard to utter : "Fuck the environment". One of my colleagues who heard me, asked if I didn't believe in climate change, to which I answered yes. He then asked if I thought we, mankind, was the cause, I answered no. I admit that I didn't know what I was talking about, but even then I knew it was rubbish.
Now, I know, God controls the world, not ridiculous, boasting men and women.
As John MacArthur says, when the world comes to an end will be decided by God, not some bunch of morons, idiots or imbeciles. Or Satan.

Scrobs. said...

And there's me, charging my electric bike to save the planet, when I could have gone out and bought a Lambretta!

Does the team think that the nut-zero scam will last out the next Labour government? I think that the big o&g cos are already way ahead of the sort of people who will be in Downing St...

Anonymous said...

Did I post the Guardian piece a month or so back to the effect that China's coal emissions alone are > 25% of current world CO2 emissions?

"The 21st century rise of Asia becomes apparent when the historical records are compared with data from 2016-2022. In this recent period, the China coal share leaps to more than a quarter of all CO2 emission, while Saudi Aramco goes up to nearly 5%. The top 10 in this modern era is dominated by Chinese and Russian state entities and filled out with those from India and Iran. Western capitalism does not appear until the 11th placed ExxonMobil with 1.4%, half of its historical average."

Given that, according to the IEA, world consumption (i.e.burning) of coal and oil were both at record levels in 2023, I'm not surprised CO2 levels are high. "Yesterday's fuels" turn out to be very much today's.

Matt said...

Typical moronic reporting from The Graudian. The 57 companies are "linked" by way of scope 3 emissions. Or put more accurately, the emissions of every person who uses fossil fuels. The eco-loons like to blame the producer since they can then attack them with lawfare and taxation. But be under no illusion, the consumer is on the hook for increased costs from the net zero fuckwittery.

Anonymous said...

Matt - does that matter? The point is that the major carbon emissions today don't come from Exxon or anyone who can be attacked with lawfare - it's all out of our hands.

Naturally China will be delighted to burn coal in order to make our wind turbines, electric cars and solar panels.

Blinken went to China the other day to tell them not to sell stuff to Russia - they told him to boil his head. You can feel global power shifting.

OK, the West can try and rebuild manufacturing - very difficult job, and do we have patriotic elites as China and Japan do? To ask the question is to answer it.

Matt said...

It matters in so far as the destruction of the West is pointless virtue signalling.

Bill Quango MP said...

The USAAF in 1940 was told to expect an additional 5,000 aircraft.
That would be triple the size of their current, rather crappy, army and the navy airforces

By 1945 the USA had produced very nearly 300,000 aircraft.

Including those four engined bombers which cost the same in time and parts and money as four single engined fighters. Only Japan and the USSR had a handful of similar aircraft.

The USA had 23 B17 bombers in service in January 1940 and had cancelled orders for any more. Owing to the cost of them, with crews and longer runways, etc. By 1945 The USA had built 35,000 4 engine planes. 97,000 bombers 2 and 4 engines of all types.

By 1945 the UK had built some 16,000. And 20,000 twin engine. .

You can bet against the democracies if you like. The peace dividend meant very low defence spending, out side the USA. Which was still lower than the Cold War.
No war for XXX years. That was the idea. Like in 1920.

The US navy has ALREADY abandoned its desire to have a fleet, really suitable for thumping Houthis, deploying marines to give the pirates a good kicking, and coming back home.
They have gone back to building force projection fleets into anyone’s waters, anywhere. Anytime.

Xi must be soooo pissed off at Putin. For waking the west up.

Anonymous said...

BQ - it's not 1940 any more and it's not Roosevelt's America, or even Reagan's. The US is no longer Churchill's "gigantic boiler" - more of an old boiler.

Not quite sure what a "force projection fleet" is, but my forecast, based on Sebastopol and modern missile tech, is that big metal boxes with aircraft on them may well be going the way of the dreadnought and battleship.

I wish the west WOULD wake up, but our elites, unlike those of China, Russia, Japan, Korea, are not at all patriotic. They like their cheap labour too much to rebuild our industry.

Bill Quango MP said...

The point is, in 1940 the USA was not geared up for manufacturing for a war.
It had few airfields.
Fewer military factories.
No sizeable pilot or aircrew training scheme. Few training planes. Few maintenance personnel. Few officers. Few hangars. Few bombs etc etc etc. Portugal had a larger army.
Spain! A larger airforce.

Not only did the USA build it all, from virtually nothing, it did it in three years. And not only that. It built its navy too. And a submarine force the size of the Uboat arm. And it’s soldiers. And sailors and every piece of equipment for them. Including almost every truck used in WW2 from 1943, by every allied nation,
They supplied themselves,
And the Russians.
And the Uk
And the French and the Chinese

From a standing start.

Now, yes, that that was a long time ago, and they couldn't possibly do a modern equivalent today, could they?

But why not?
Even the half assed, fully corrupt industry of the Russian Federation can shift military gdp from 6to 10% of GDP in two years. Without ending all other production. Can gear up much more. To 50% if Putin thinks the people will stand for it.

The USA built those 1940 aircraft in their car factories. They went from 30,000 cars to 30,000 planes in a single year.
( admittedly by not building any new civilian cars.)

China can do it, Russia can do it, but the USA can’t? Europe can’t? The UK can’t? Why not?

As for no need of navies now they can be sunk by missiles, well, perhaps.
The USA could sail to Taiwan and have as many ‘smoking accidents’ resulting in ships sinking as the Russian Black ‘bottom of the’ Sea fleet.

But you know all that data the Ukrainians have is being viewed in Norfolk Virginia. You know that those 1500-2000 km drones flights are being studied and refined. And improved. The war is revealing the strengths and weaknesses of NATO and western forces. And any Soviet era ones.

You don’t for one second think those five star Generals will just ignore what they are seeing, do you?

However, more importantly than any of that, is the real lesson of the special military disaster for China.

Do they have enough of a domestic and beholden client base, plus allies, to be able to do without the western world as a market for their goods, possibly forever?

Because China could switch those millions of square feet of factories to arms production. And could quite easily challenge for top dog status in the world, in a global conflict. Their stuff is good.

But, as with Putin, do they actually loose, far far far more than they could ever gain?
Is the risk worth the prize?

Fire up and find out.

Anonymous said...

AFAIK the Brics economies are around the same size as the G7.

But as I've said, I can't see our elites (damn them to hell) being prepared to pay decent wages unless it's really desperate. Nor do I see British people being prepared to sacrifice their sons for the rules-based international order. I will tell mine so in no uncertain terms.

Let Blair and BoJos New Britons fight. After all, they "built Britain" according to my 50p piece.

Of course Boris' few million high-IQ Hongers may not choose the "right" side.

Anonymous said...

"the USA can’t? Europe can’t? The UK can’t? Why not?"

Maybe the Germans could, if we'd not destroyed their energy supplies. But Britain and the US are not what they were in 1940 at all at all.

First, we've binned so much manufacturing industry that it would be a mammoth task to recreate it, and there'd be private equity skimming their 15% off the top.

Second, they've been telling the Brits for so long that it's not their country any more, that the message is finally getting through.

Third, demography. Good luck with hi-tech manufacturing in London, Birmingham, Lancashire, Yorkshire.