US-based Diamond Offshore and the marine operation of Swedish engineering group Trelleborg have signed an agreement to jointly develop, manufacture and market helical buoyancy riser technology.

The new technology developed by Diamond Offshore acts as an alternative to adding fairings or strakes to the drilling riser and minimises riser drag and mitigates Vortex-Induced vibration in offshore applications.

The solution also helps improve operational efficiency and has the capacity to reduce deployment time, as well as operating expense.

Diamond Offshore senior vice-president and chief commercial officer Ron Woll said: "Development of this new technology for riser buoyancy is even more important as drilling moves into deeper waters.

"Development of this new technology for riser buoyancy is even more important as drilling moves into deeper waters."

"We continually look for ways to improve the economics of offshore drilling for our customers, and this new buoyancy design will enhance drilling efficiencies in high-current environments."

Diamond Offshore said that the helical buoyancy design eliminates the need for personnel to work below the drill floor to attach a separate apparatus and improves safety in challenging environments.

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The company developed the helical design by using computational fluid dynamics and reynolds number wind tunnel testing.

Under the agreement, Diamond Offshore and Trelleborg will collaborate on further application engineering, data acquisition, testing and development of these applications across the offshore drilling market.

Trelleborg offshore operation in Houston vice-president Alan McBride said: "At Trelleborg, our goal is to perform at every level to deliver innovative and reliable offshore solutions and we welcome this opportunity to team-up with Diamond Offshore on this exciting venture."

In conjunction with the agreement, Diamond Offshore has ordered Helical Buoyancy from Trelleborg for drilling risers on two of its sixth-generation drillships, the Ocean BlackRhino and Ocean BlackLion.

These drillships are currently under contract in the Gulf of Mexico.