Balmoral’s drill riser buoyancy VIV suppression and drag reduction system was a result of the Discovery Unit’s efforts

Commentary - 4 Mar 2020

Improved product solutions result of dedicated R&D resource

By Fraser Milne, Engineering and Projects Director
Commentary author

By Fraser Milne

Engineering and Projects Director

We have provided equipment to practically every deepwater province in the world earning a reputation as the ‘go-to’ company when operators and contractors are facing challenges with these issues.

From West Africa to Brazil and west of Shetland to the Gulf of Mexico, Balmoral has been involved in numerous high profile and challenging projects including Mad Dog, Thunder Horse, Jack & St Malo, Stones, Appomattox, Girassol, Tupi, etc.

A significant differentiator for us, as an independent company, is the ability to invest in continuous research and development programmes.

We are renowned for our pioneering spirit and have introduced a dedicated resource known as the ‘Balmoral Discovery Unit’ to broaden our horizons with a focus on product and materials solutions.

Taking a proactive response to the ever-changing environment of the energy industry, we identified the advantages to be achieved by nurturing an innovative development culture that expands the focus beyond immediate client requirements and expectations.

Recent examples of the work being carried out by the unit include upgraded distributed buoyancy module clamping systems; boltless bend restrictors; ultra-low density syntactic foams and a ground-breaking VIV suppression and drag reduction system for drill riser buoyancy.

The Discovery Unit was created to proactively and reactively deliver technical solutions to industry challenges and is a collaboration of highly experienced individuals from our product research and development design facility, polymer and composites material laboratories, process engineering department and subsea test centre.


Client confidence is assured as all development projects are delivered through state-of-the-art facilities and driven in accordance with recognised industry methodologies, including API RP 17Q, which control activities through Technology Readiness Levels.

In order to streamline and mitigate the risk of traditionally lengthy and complex product development programs, the unit works to transform challenges into technically sound, commercial product solutions.

In dealing with the complexities of bespoke project testing, stringent customer specifications and compliance to global industry standards, Balmoral operates a state-of-the-art laboratory to ensure these requirements are satisfied.

Our programme of investment ensures we retain total control over time schedules, test conditions and methodologies to fulfil client and internal development project requirements.

Purpose built

Our technical team operates in a custom designed environment that houses a state-of-the-art temperature and humidity controlled laboratory furnished with a wealth of chemical, thermal, hydrostatic and mechanical test equipment.

We emphatically stress the importance of using first-hand test data and provide fully tested and verified materials data sheets for every project.

Balmoral operates best practice at all times and doesn’t supply clients with generic data that may be available from raw material suppliers and will not be specific to the manufacturing house.

Every piece of data that we provide is comprehensively authenticated by our in-house experts ensuring clients receive information that is directly related to their project and not third-party generated.

Our highly experienced team would be delighted to discuss your project.
Please contact us for further information.
Contact us to find out how we can help solve your current technical challenge


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Balmoral Comtec Ltd
A Balmoral Group company
Balmoral Park, Loirston, Aberdeen AB12 3GY | +44 (0)1224 859000 |
Registered number SC301819