Shell Oil, one of the world’s largest oil companies, has unveiled plans to construct a new kind of oceangoing vessel for deep-water natural gas drilling and extraction. The new ship will be the largest ever constructed, cost between $8 and $15 billion and will make the Sydney Opera house look miniscule by comparison.
It’s going to be built in Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries and will operate initially off the northwestern coast of Australia, extracting natural gas and liquefying it onboard, transferring it to massive tankers that will moor alongside the vessel on a weekly basis. Each tanker will then return to a port with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, unloading enough natural gas to supply a city the size of London for an entire week.
The ship has a number of technical difficulties to work out, and there is the usual opposition from environmentalists, arguing that the risk from spills and leaks is still substantial and ought to bring greater scrutiny to the project. The sheer size of the ship is absolutely staggering, and construction is set to begin shortly. The expected beginning of operations is projected to be 2016.
I know that this is a rather obscure (geeky) topic, but I urge you to look at the article. The graphics and the illustrations give you a much better idea as to the scale of this project, doing a much more justice to the topic than I can by just writing about it.