By Mike McNulty
Houston, Texas -- Trelleborg AB's growing offshore operation has landed its biggest contract to date, one it figures ultimately will be in the $50 million to $60 million range.
The firm's Trelleborg Offshore & Construction unit received the large order from one of the leading drilling companies in the world, according to the firm. It didn't disclose the name of the driller.
Trelleborg will make and supply drill riser buoyancy modules, or DRBMs, which will be produced at the firm's two subsea products factories in Houston.
One of the plants "is dedicated to manufacturing our core product, drill riser buoyancy modules," a company spokeswoman said. The second facility serves several areas, including a state-of-the-art polyurethane operation, finishing and storing the modules, and fabrication, she said.
A final figure on the award will depend on the eventual quantity and depth rating of the drill riser buoyancy modules in the order, the spokesman said.
Trelleborg will begin making the polymer-based products in the first quarter of 2014, and they will be delivered to the customer in 2014 and 2015, with the project expected to conclude at the end of the second year.
Drill risers provide conduits for the drill string and drilling fluids from the ocean floor to a rig. Because they are heavy, the drill risers must be supported by their own structures and by the drilling vessel. In order to reduce the weight of the risers in the water, DRBMs are fitted along the length of the risers.
The Houston plants are Trelleborg's only operations that make the modules, the spokeswoman said. "Our other facilities around the globe manufacture other buoyancy products, including surface buoyancy, distributed buoyancy, subsea buoyancy, ROV buoyancy and the like."
Trelleborg has had a direct presence in the buoyancy market since 2006 when it acquired CRP Group. However, she said, CRP's experience with the products dates back more than 30 years.
The company, based globally in Stockholm, Sweden, has been preparing to land major contracts for some time.
"Over the last 15 months, we have invested significantly in our research and development center in Houston," the official said. "The focus on innovation and technology has resulted in recruitment of high caliber talent and upgrading of critical equipment, with advances including new testing systems and the introduction of customized automation in our manufacturing processes."
This story first appeared in Rubber & Plastics News