Energy and petrochemical company Royal Dutch Shell is considering deploying a vessel off the coast of north-western Australia to house the world’s first floating liquefied natural gas plant.

Shell’s plan to employ what it claims is the biggest ship in the world will cost the company $31bn this year and $28bn in 2010.

In July, Shell awarded a contract to Samsung Heavy Industries and Technip to design, construct and install floating LNG facilities over 15 years.

According to Samsung’s estimate, Shell could order ten vessels worth about $5bn each.

The vessel will weigh about 600,000 metric tonnes and be around 1,574ft long, 246ft wide and be designed to withstand a “one-in-10,000-year” tropical cyclone.