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World's largest 'floating facility' launched by S. Korea's Samsung

SEOUL -- South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries has floated a tanker-shaped vessel tagged as the world's largest “floating facility” with a length greater than the height of the Empire State Building.

A Samsung spokeswoman said Thursday that the floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platform — named “Prelude” — was set in the water at its southern shipyard in Geoje on Nov. 30.

The 488-meter-long (1,601 foot) vessel cannot be described as a “ship” as it is unable to move under its own steam and must be towed.

But its specifications are impressive, outstripping the 443-meter-tall Empire State Building in New York.

Once complete, the facility will weigh more than 600,000 tons fully loaded, displacing the same amount of water as six of the world's largest aircraft carriers.

Seventy-four meters wide and 110 meters high, it is expected to produce 3.6 million tons of LNG a year and its storage tanks have a capacity equivalent to approximately 175 Olympic swimming pools.

Commissioned by the Dutch energy giant Shell, the facility is due to be delivered by September 2016.

In a press release on its website, Shell said Prelude would operate in a remote basin around 475 kilometers (295 miles) northeast of Broome, a town in Western Australia, for around 25 years.

It is an all-weather facility designed to withstand the most powerful category-five cyclone.

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A South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries' tanker-shaped vessel tagged as the world's largest “floating facility,” with a length greater than the height of the Empire State Building in New York, is shown at a southern shipyard in Geoje in this Samsung Heavy Industries handout picture taken on Nov. 30 and released on Thursday, Dec. 5.

(AFP)

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