The Biggest Ship in the World
The Shell Prelude is the World’s largest ship, measuring 488 meters (1,601 feet) from end to end. At that size, it’s not only the biggest ship in the world, it’s the biggest ever built.
The Prelude is the first of a new class of vessel called a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platform. The spot the Prelude will call home for what Shell estimates will be 20 to 25 years lies in the middle of the Indian Ocean’s “cyclone alley,” so the vessel had to be built to survive a category-5 cyclone. The Prelude’s specifications are impressive, outstripping the 1,453ft (443m)-tall Empire State Building in New York.
Prelude, which analysts says may cost over $12 billion to build and which is due to be producing by 2017, is a potential game changer for the oil and gas industry. If it 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.