Local drillers get tunnel vision
TWO teenage drillers working on Country Energy’s project to place high-voltage underground cables to the South Lismore electricity substation may have broken a world record.
The 19-year-old cousins, Kane and Nathan O’Meley, from the NSW Central Coast, who carried out an 800 millimetre diameter bore through 220 metres of solid basalt at South Lismore, may be the youngest drillers to complete such a job.
Their boss and uncle, Tony O’Meley, co-owner and operator of Hunter Valley-based specialist drilling company Arogen, couldn’t speak highly enough of his young employees, saying their engineering feat was to be featured in an international trade magazine, Asia Pacific Trenchless Technology magazine, next month.
“Other companies are bringing in guys from overseas for this type of work, but we’re committed to training young blokes with a passion for this,” he said.
Nathan said it was ‘a bit of a shock’ when they heard about the potential world record, but they were taking it in their stride.
“We’ve been doing it for about three years. Kane and I love it – it’s heaps better than school,” he said.
“The job took about nine to 10 weeks, but we were flat out most of the time because we had to deal with heaps of problems.
“This was the biggest drill we’ve done. We’ve only done little ones by ourselves before.
“Tony loves putting the pressure on us, but someone is alw-ays there to help if we need it.”
The $2 million project will connect two high-voltage underground cables from Three Chain Road to Country Energy’s South Lismore zone substation.
Arogen will finish up next week and Country Energy will complete the project by June.