Record-breaking barge, Prelude, floated in Korean waters

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A floating vessel that is longer than the Empire State Building is high has taken to the water for the first time.

The hull of Shell’s Prelude was floated in South Korea.

When fully built, Prelude will be the largest floating facility ever created, weighing more than 600,000 tonnes.

It would be used to help in the production of natural gas from 2017, Shell said, and would operate for 25 years off Australia’s north-west coast.

The area has a yearly cyclone season from November to April, but Prelude has been designed to withstand such conditions. It is hoped the facility will be able to produce enough gas to power a city the size of Hong Kong.

I do not miss working in shipyards. Even when you get to work on the construction of something this impressive, it’s still mostly grunt work, plumbing and welding. Oil field work that floats.

OTOH, the engineering requirements of a structure this massive impresses. Even if it wasn’t designed to float and survive severe weather it would be a beastie.

China’s yuan surpasses euro as #2 currency in trade finance

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China’s yuan currency overtook the euro in October, becoming the second-most used currency in trade finance, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Tuesday.

The market share of yuan usage in trade finance, or Letters of Credit and Collection, grew to 8.66 percent in October 2013. That improved from 1.89 percent in January 2012.

The yuan, also known as the renminbi, now ranks behind the U.S. dollar, which remains the leading currency with a share of 81.08 percent…

Yup. A long way to go to be competitive. Though, anyone who thinks the RMB will fall by the wayside anytime soon – is deluded.

The top five countries using the yuan for trade finance in October were China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia, SWIFT said in a statement.

“The RMB is clearly a top currency for trade finance globally and even more so in Asia,” Franck de Praetere, SWIFT’s Asia Pacific head of payments and trade markets said…

The world’s second-largest economy is accelerating the pace of financial reform to promote its currency to international players beyond Hong Kong. China aims to lift the yuan’s global clout and reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar.

Even though the dimwits in Congress still run their trick bag on the American public about Chinese currency being manipulated as cheap – to steal business – they know nothing about ForEx or global biz. It’s been a few years since the PBOC stopped pegging the RMB to the US dollar and it’s only gone in one direction since. Up, up. About a third of a percent, yesterday.

The Western moneyboys are jostling each other in the peloton to get to the front on converting yuan to euros and dollars – and vice versa. The Swiss and the Brits mostly in the lead. This month.

SpaceX launches commercial TV satellite for Asia

The US SpaceX company has announced its intention to take a big slice of the market for launching the world’s TV and telecoms satellites.

The California outfit has just launched a new platform for satellite operator SES to serve its growing customer base in India and South East Asia…It is the first time SpaceX has put a satellite in a geostationary transfer orbit, far above the Earth.

The launch took place at Cape Canaveral in Florida…

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket got up off the pad at 17:41 local time (22:41 GMT) and released the SES-8 platform on its planned trajectory some 33 minutes later…

SpaceX is promising to substantially undercut the existing players on price, and SES, the world’s second largest telecoms satellite operator, believes the incumbents had better take note of the California company’s capability.

The entry of SpaceX into the commercial market is a game-changer – it is going to really shake the industry to its roots,” SES’s chief technical officer Martin Halliwell told BBC News before the launch.

The flight from Cape Canaveral was the seventh mission to date for a Falcon 9.

The progression to longer flights, larger payloads, appears to be doing just fine. At this rate, I expect they’ll land a Tesla on the moon for Chinese astronauts to drive around in.

RTFA for lots more detail, background. I chose one of the longer videos – worth watching.