A coworker just sent me this with the text "kinda cool." Indeed.
Meet the "Prelude", owned by Shell Oil. As it is owned by Shell you would imagine that this ship has something to do with fuel. Your imagination serves you correctly as this ship is going to be a sort of natural gas rig. It will be anchored off the coast of Australia and is a fully functioning harvester and processor of natural gas. Some quick Google-fu gives me another article about its launch but for those who want the overview I've pulled some facts below.
- Cost about $11 billion...yes...$11 BILLION DOLLARS
- 1,601 feet long...that's over a quarter mile and 150 feet longer than the Empire State Building is tall (including the spire)
- 243 feet wide...as the video in the first link states, wider than the Panama Canal (shows how important that section of the world is to this ship)
- weighs over 600,000 tons fully laden
- it will be anchored for 25 years
- it is reportedly able to withstand a category 5 hurricane
- an estimated 3.6 million tons of liquefied natural gas is expected to be produced each year
- the on-board storage tanks hold the equivalent of 175 Olympic swimming pools of product (one pool is approximately 660,000 gallons/2,500 cubic meters of volume)
- some reports say there are three engines on board but Shell's introduction video (which is like a minute long info-graph) says it does not and is actually moved around using tugs
There we have it. There's more info out there (like how it launched from South Korea), I'm sure. The scale of this thing is absurd but I am really interested in how it actually functions. A tour inside would take a long time but a highlight reel on "How it's made" or something of the sort would be nice.
Update: Link to Shell's coverage. Mentions 3 separate 6,700 hp thrusters that help realign the ship during storms and docking of other ships. I would imagine the sheer size of this vessel made long-distance transport a job for tugs. Thanks for the comments bringing me to this train of thought.