Shell floats hull of enormous rig

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AMSTERDAM (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it has completed building the hull of the world's largest floating facility, which has been constructed to process natural gas off the coast of western Australia.

Shell said Tuesday that the 488-meter (1,600 foot) hull of the structure, known as "Prelude," was floated out of the dry dock in Geoje, South Korea where it is being built.

Prelude is designed to take in the equivalent of 110,000 barrels of oil per day in natural gas and cool it into liquefied natural gas for transport and sale in Asia. It will float above gas fields.

Shell says it can remain in place through a category 5 cyclone.

Construction began last year, three years after the project was announced. Gas production is slated to begin in 2017.

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