An ode to humanity’s perpetual ingenuity at finding ways to burn things

Did you know that Bond super-villains were into the natural gas business? It’d take that level of diabolical thinking to come up with this idea. I can just see it now, the dude’s popped up on cognac, stroking the kitty, and looking Bond in the eye as fourteen goons restrain him:

Arcturus: “For you see Mister Bond, I’m not even interested in Perth’s gas terminal, that was just a ruse. I’ve constructed my own moving terminal. I’ll liquefy the gas right above the field, hundreds of miles from any prying eyes. Ships won’t even need to dock, I’ll just sell them the gas right at the source.”

Bond: “You’re insane Arcturus! That’d take a ship larger than most buildings.”

Arcturus: “Oh yes, yes Mister Bond, it will. It has. Ahahahahahaha!”

And then Bond kills all fourteen goons and throws Arcturus down a mineshaft before escaping with Arcturus’ turncoat secretary.

No seriously, they’re doing this. Prelude is the planet’s first floating liquefied natural gas terminal (FLNG). It’s the largest moving object every constructed by human hands. At 600K tons this thing is six times larger than an aircraft carrier. Just look at this damn thing in comparison:

fp1204_prelude_vs_buildings_940_ab

Once they finish building the ship it’s supposed to work for 25 years off Australia siphoning gas off the floor, liquefying it on site, and transferring the gas to LNG tankers. All at sea. Samsung Heavy Industries supposedly designed it to withstand typhoons. At a cost of over $10B. This is outright lunacy. I’m not sure how Shell ever agreed to fund this.

I think this concept is probably about sixteen times more complicated than figuring out how to go to freaking Mars. And yet they’re doing it. Damn, when human minds and unbridled amounts of cash join forces, there’s literally nothing we can’t do. And in this case, all so we can burn more natural gas.

I really like this stuff because it shows how much we generally don’t suck as a race. We can still do very complicated and exciting things. Still, it makes you wonder that if we can do this, maybe we should be better at things that don’t involve burning things. Like curing cancer or ebola. Or how to keep that damn squirrel away from the bird seed. I just think curing cancer is really just that damn hard.

Oh well, this is still a win. This is a cool idea. Although I wonder if Shell will actually lose money? Only time will tell. 25 years is a long time to make cash back. If it doesn’t work, they can always go back to building that space based death ray.

prelude

As a point of reference, the size of one human in this picture is about one pixel

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