A Shell executive said two major projects illustrated the oil giant’s faith in the future of natural gas and emphasized the company’s bet on the fuel as a major energy resource for the future.
One of them, a floating liquefied natural gas vessel, will be the largest seagoing structure in the world (see the video below). Measuring five football fields in length — longer than Reliant Center or the height of the Empire State building — the ship would have the ability to position above an offshore gas field and liquefy the resource for easy transportation and use, said Matthias Bichsel, director of projects and technology for Shell.
Although domestic natural gas prices are at their lowest levels in a decade, the fossil fuel is in demand in many parts of the world. Bichsel said demand is expected to grow too.
“We expect global gas demand to jump 50% between now and 2030 and that helps to explain why the development of floating LNG technology is so relevant,” Bichsel said.
The company has also invested in developing the world’s largest onshore gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar, he said.
“Some people have actually described natural gas only as a transition fuel, part of a bridge to a renewable future, however, the reality is quite different as we see it … it is what we call a destination fuel,” Bichsel said.
Shell’s floating LNG facility will cost more than $10 billion and will weigh more than 600,000 metric tons when fully loaded. The first steel for the project is planned to be cut this year and the vessel, when completed, will take position over a field in offshore Australia.
Read more about Shell’s Prelude Floating LNG vessel here.
Watch a video on the vessel here: