The World’s Largest Mega-Ship Launched
This is the largest ship ever to have floated on the ocean.
The Prelude FLNG, built by Shell and partners to transport liquefied natural gas, weighs a whopping 600,000 tons and is 488 metres long.
That’s bigger than the Empire State Building would be if you laid it on its side.
If you were able to clear out the deck, you could fit four full-size football pitches on there with room to spare.
Shell won’t say how much the ship cost to build, but analysts estimate at least $12billion.
They began building the monstrosity in 2011.
Towering up to 93 metres high, it will draw gas from under the sea bed for dispatch to Asia by the boatload.
Anchored about 125 miles off the Australian coast, Prelude will chill the gas to reduce its volume by a factor of 600 and load it on to specialized LNG tankers.
But just as the Prelude was being launched, engineers revealed plans to build an even bigger vessel.
The oil company’s technicians said they are designing something even larger and tougher than Prelude, a vessel that will need to last 25 years moored in the Indian Ocean’s “cyclone alley” off Australia’s northwest coast, producing enough gas to supply a city the size of Hong Kong.
“Yes we will move bigger and move into more extreme environments,” Bruce Steenson, Shell’s general manager of integrated gas programs and innovation told media last week. “We are designing a larger facility … That will be the next car off the rails.”
If Prelude is an economic success, gas fields worldwide that are too far out to sea and too small to develop any other way could become viable for LNG production.