The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World can’t hold a candle to the monolithic achievements of the modern world, including what may soon be the world’s largest floating object, a Shell natural gas drilling and storing facility.
Called Prelude, the facility will be one-third of a mile long, weight 600,000 tons, and will extract the equivalent of 110,000 barrels of oil every day in the form of natural gas. This behemoth structure will be situated about 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) off of Northwest Australia. It has a planned life expectancy of 25 years.
While the jury is still out regarding the environmental benefits of natural gas, as well as recovery methods like fracking, to me, anything is better than oil. Unfortunately, I doubt this will be the last “mega platform” to be developed, as it becomes harder and harder to recover oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. Essentially a floating city six-times heavier than even the largest American aircraft carrier when completed in 2017. It will also be about 30 meters longer than the longest ship ever built, the Seawise Giant, a supertanker that was scrapped last year.
So yeah. Get used to this, because I have a feeling this is only the beginning.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.