Friday, December 6, 2013

Engineering Milestone: World's Largest Vessel (Barge)

This is a continuation of a series of articles that tackles different engineering achievement, from world’s tallest building, longest bridge, biggest building, and the likes. Now let’s talk about the world’s largest vessel.

Before going on to the discussion bout the world’s largest vessel, let’s define first “vessel”, “barge”, and a “ship”. A vessel is a craft, especially one larger than a rowboat, designed to navigate on water. A ship is a vessel of considerable size for deep-water navigation. While barge a vessel, usually flat-bottomed and with or without its own power, used for transporting freight, especially on canals.

We defined those 3 so that we will not be confused with their meaning (if ever you’re confused). So let’s now continue.
Prelude- world's largest vessel
This one is longer than the height of Empire State Building; its storage tanks have a capacity equivalent to 175 Olympic-size swimming pools. It was designed to endure a category-five typhoon, and will be in service for around 25 years. The South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries floated “Prelude” the partially 1, 601-feet long and 600, 000-ton vessel off the southern shipyard in Geoje on November 30, 2013. It’s a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platform, commissioned by the Dutch energy company Shell, the facility is due to be delivered by September 2016.

Prelude - World's largest barge
Prelude would operate in a remote basin around 475 kilometers (295 miles) northeast of Broome, a town in Western Australia to tap offshore gas. It is 74 meters wide and 11 meters high, and it is expected to produce 3.6 million tons a year (mtpa) of LNG, and 5.3 mtpa of liquids and other hydrocarbons. As for comparison, Shell’s US-based rival Chevron, leads the development of “Gorgon” a lan-based producing plant. Gorgon is expected to produce 15.6 mtpa when it is done in early 2015. But Gorgon is more expensive than Prelude, the former is estimated to cost around $US 52B while the latter is estimated on $US 12B.

Prelude can produce enough gas to supply a city the size of Hong Kong. It is not yet finished but Shell’s technicians are already designing a larger and tougher vessel than Prelude.


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