The 488m (1,601ft) by 74m (242ft) hull of Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility has been floated out of its construction dock at the Geoje yard of South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI). Once completed, it will be positioned to a site 475km north-east of Broome, Western Australia where it will produce approximately 3.6 million tons of LNG per annum to be transferred directly to LNG tankers.

The vessel, claimed to be the world’s biggest ship, is seen as the next step for the oil and gas industry. If proved to be a success, Prelude, which cost over $12 billion to build and is due to be producing by 2017, could mean that gas fields which are too far out to sea and too small to develop any other way, could become viable.

Although not considered a ‘facility’ but still floating, is a just completed drydock built by South Korea’s Daewoo SB&ME for its own use that measures 432m (1,417ft) by 85.6m (281ft). JS

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