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Balmoral flies flag for offshore wind at OTC

Balmoral directors take the stand at OTC in Houston. Left to right: Gary Yeoman, Bill Main, Fraser Milne
Balmoral directors take the stand at OTC in Houston. Left to right: Gary Yeoman, Bill Main, Fraser Milne

Aberdeen’s Balmoral Group has returned to Houston’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) following an enforced two-year hiatus caused by the global pandemic.

The company’s renewed presence on the UK pavilion represents a run of near continuous attendance at the event since the early 1980s when chairman and managing director Jim Milne spearheaded Balmoral’s entry to the North American market.

Past years: Jim Milne shows off subsea products on the Balmoral stand at OTC. Photo Barchfeld Photography.

This year Balmoral is showcasing its latest developments in buoyancy, insulation and protection products as well as highlighting Fibreflex, its offshore wind cable protection system.

The annual event in Houston  – the so-called  “Super Bowl of Oil” – has provided North Sea-based companies with a window onto the global oil and gas industry for decades, but it too is now also taking a significant focus on all offshore energy.

Avoiding cable failure in offshore wind installations

A major talking point of 2021 for the offshore wind sector was cable failure after several developers reported problems, highlighting a need for better protection as projects move further out to sea.

Balmoral developed and patented its cable protection technology that uses a novel composite of polyurethane and polyester fibres that effectively creates a braided hose style system for the protection of subsea power cables.

Sales director, Gary Yeoman, is promoting the system at OTC for the first time.

Balmoral Group Jim Milne at OTC 2016

He said: “It’s clear that the energy industry transition is gathering momentum this side of the Atlantic and it’s encouraging to see OTC embracing the move towards a low carbon energy future.

“Fibreflex is a game changing technology that takes advantage of the polymer’s highly elastic behaviour, its long-term subsea durability, excellent abrasion and impact properties, and combines them with the mechanical strength properties of the fibre.

“Complemented by our buoyancy solutions that are used in floating wind installations we see exciting opportunities in this rapidly developing industry.”

Quayside facility investment for advanced composites fabrication

The company also highlighted its recent seven-figure investment in creating an advanced composites manufacturing facility at Montrose Port, south of Aberdeen, where large scale components for the offshore energy sector will be built.

Balmoral Comtec to open new base at Montrose Port.

Bill Main, managing director of Balmoral Comtec, also speaking from the stand, said: “We are building on our experience of working with the offshore wind sector and the new facility will allow us to fabricate and deliver very large composites structures direct from shore to ship.”

New buoyancy clamping system

Subsea oil and gas remains a focus which is also showcasing its patented buoyancy clamping system which it launched in 2021.

The new system removes the need for separate clamping devices by attaching directly onto flexible flowlines, rigid pipelines, umbilicals and risers, and provides reduced and evenly distributed line contact through customised pads that accommodate expansion and contraction.

Jim Milne, managing director, Balmoral Group, left, and Fraser Milne at OTC in 2018. Photo Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle

Fraser Milne, engineering and projects director, said from the Balmoral stand: “Significant savings will be realised by a reduction in shipping costs, deck space requirements and product installation times.”

An independent company, Aberdeen-headquartered  Balmoral has over 500 people at its city facility and employs more than 750 across its operations in Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific.

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