Massive drilling rigs to make long road trip to Nirranda

DRILLING is finally set to start on Origin Energy’s Halladale gas project in Nirranda South, along with promises the project won’t harm the environment. 

A massive drill rig and mining parts will be transported from the Port of Melbourne to the south-west site this week. 

Motorists have been told to be aware of the large trucks crossing the region’s roads. 

An Origin spokesman told The Standard drilling was expected to begin next month. 

“It will take 20 working days to mobilise, build and commission the rig ready for drilling. So if all goes to schedule — which we expect it should — drilling will commence second or third week of August,” he said. 

“It’s a major milestone for the project.” 

The gas fields are located offshore from Nirranda. 

Developers have promised not to harm the Bay of Islands Coastal Park or the marine environment. 

Origin will drill horizontally out to sea to minimise the environmental and visual impacts of the project. 

The company has permits for the Halladale well and the Speculant exploration well. 

Another drill site nearby called Blackwatch is yet to be approved by the state government. 

Once completed, gas will be transported through pipelines to the existing Heytesbury gas gathering facility near Port Campbell, then on to Origin’s Otway gas plant.

The company has spent recent months upgrading access roads to the area. 

“During the drilling campaign, we expect that there will be 70-80 workers on site and then an additional 40-50 workers for the construction of facilities and pipeline,” the spokesman said. 

The machinery is expected to travel along the Hamilton Highway to Mortlake, the Terang-Noorat Road to Terang and then west on the Princes Highway before turning on to the Great Ocean Road at Allansford.

From there the trucks will head 30 kilometres along the Great Ocean Road before turning right on to Radfords Road.

The truck trips are expected to take up to a week. 

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