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World’s largest ship launched but bigger one planned

 Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 23.38.36

World’s largest ship launched but bigger one planned

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 23.36.49
3 December 2013

By Edd GentThe world’s largest ship has been launched but developer Royal Dutch Shell already has plans for something bigger.

The Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) plant The Prelude is half a kilometre from bow to stern, room for four football pitches on deck were it not for a clutter of kit towering up to 93m high that will draw gas from under the sea bed for dispatch to Asia by the boatload.

But as the partly-built structure floats out of dry dock for the first time, Shell has said it wants to consolidate its advantage as the first mover in FLNG – an as-yet untried technology for which Prelude will be the flagship.

The oil company’s technicians 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 programmes and innovation told Reuters last week. “We are designing a larger facility … That will be the next car off the rails.”

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