The world biggest ships are not aircraft carries, as many might expect. They’re not even built for or by the military. Instead, today’s most massive seafaring vessels are all about transporting and even processing natural gas.
Currently, the largest ship in history is being built in South Korea by Samsung. The Prelude is a 1,601 foot giant that will take the natural gas production process offshore and liquefy it while at sea, merging transport and refinement together simultaneously.
Giant ships like this are not rare. The Greeks have spent over a billion dollars this year investing in these mega vessels. Japan owns giant transport ships that cost about $200 million each. This shipbuilding trend isn’t just a matter of building bigger.
“All this is being spurred by a boom in natural gas, particularly from the US. Shale gas extraction has pushed US natural gas output to a record level every year since 2011 and made the US the world’s largest producer. The Americans will start competing with Australia and Qatar to export the stuff around the world next year. And that’s where these ships come in.”
Will we soon start seeing other ships that are larger than six aircraft carries and longer than some of the world’s tallest buildings? That may depend on just how long the natural gas boom continues and what happens when the Prelude goes to work in 2017.