Shell's Floating Gas Platform Will Be the World's Biggest Ship


The multinational oil and gas company Shell is planning to build a natural gas platform that will be the world’s biggest ship. The  vessel  will be finished by 2017 and will anchor off the Australian coast.

Currently the ship is being built by Samsung in South Korea. When completed , the vessel will weigh about 600,000 tons, over ten times the weight of the legendary Titanic and six times more than the biggest aircraft carrier . It will have a length of 5 football fields.


The ship will drill for natural gas from a giant gas field off the coast of northern Australia that Shell  discovered  in 2007. On board the gas is cooled down to a temperature of -160° C and becomes a liquid . In this state it is 600 times smaller than in gas form, so that it can be easily stored in giant  tanks.

Once a week tankers will load liquid  gas from the platform and transport it to other countries in Asia, above all China and Japan. Shell has chosen to carry out  the project off Australia because it is near the booming markets in eastern Asia where more and more natural gas will be needed for the industries of these countries.

The vast ship is a technological challenge for Shell because it must be built so that it can survive the cyclones and storms that hit the area regularly. It is designed  to withstand 200 mile an hour winds and 20 meter high waves.

The platform is expected to be in operation off northern Australia for about 25 years. When there is no more gas in the field the vessel will be dismantled  and rebuilt somewhere else. Shell states that building such a liquefied gas platform is a much cheaper way to store and transport gas than by using pipelines.


The project will also please  Australia. The government is expected to collect millions in taxes  from the operation.

Not everyone, however , is pleased with the Shell’s new energy project. Environmentalists fear that gas will leak out into the ocean and damage  the sea’s ecosystem .


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  • aircraft carrier   =  a ship that planes can take off from and land on
  • anchor   = to be fixed or to hold something in a place
  • booming   = rising, expanding, to become bigger
  • carry out   = to do something that is planned
  • challenge   = something very difficult to do
  • complete   = finish
  • currently   = right now
  • cyclone   = storm, like a hurricane
  • damage   = destroy
  • design   = plan
  • discover   = to find for the first time
  • dismantle   = to take apart
  • drill   = to make a hole in an object
  • ecosystem   = the animals and plants in an area and the way they live with each other
  • environmentalist   = a person who is afraid that nature and animals will be destroyed
  • float   = to swim on the sea
  • giant   = very big
  • however   = but
  • in operation   = work
  • leak out   = a small hole that lets something out
  • length   = how long something is
  • liquid   = watery form
  • multinational   = a company that has offices , factories and buildings in many countries
  • please   = satisfy , like
  • rebuilt   = build again
  • state   = condition , shape
  • state   = to say officially
  • store   = to put away in a safe place until you need it
  • survive   = exist in, without being damaged
  • tax   = money that the government gets from people or companies that is used to pay for public services
  • vast   = very big
  • vessel   = a ship or a large boat
  • withstand   = to be strong enough