100% Gippsland owned company O&M has been working with J-Power Latrobe Valley to put 70 locals on the job during the construction phase of the Latrobe Valley coal gasification and refining facility.

Established in 2013 and based in Morwell, the company employs over 150 people from the Gippsland region, which sometimes expands to 250 people when undertaking large projects and plant outages.

The company specialises in delivering electrical and maintenance services to the power, water, oil, gas and mining industries. The hydrogen industry has been an exciting new venture for the team.

O&M has been responsible for the full electrical and instrumentation scope for the construction of the Latrobe Valley site, working as an integral part of the plant team, including collaborating with Japanese partners from J-Power, engineering design consultants and the mechanical and structural builders of the site.

O&M has a pool of personnel that are qualified for working in the hydrogen industry. Their team have extensive cross-industry experience in large industrial environments such as the power, mining, water, oil and gas, pulp and paper sectors and in roles such as trades, plant operators, maintenance, supervisors and managers.

Those with experience from the mining industry are well versed in handling, conveying and processing large volumes of raw materials and operating, controlling and maintaining of the associated plant systems.

“We have up to eight staff that have worked on the systems, process and documentation development in the period leading up to operations and assisted with plant commissioning and process refinement. This team will transition to full-time Operators and Maintainers for the full operating phase of the pilot project” said Ian Green, O&M Business Manager.

The company is especially proud of the support and engagement they offer through its apprentice program, with six apprentices currently working for them. Two O&M HESC Project apprentices, Jay Murphy and Ashley Withell, shared their enthusiasm for working on the pilot project and the skills it is giving them to work in a new industry.

O&M staff enjoy working on the HESC Project as they are playing an integral part in emerging clean energy technology that will change the energy industry and lead to positive change in managing climate change.

The company sees great potential for the Gippsland region to become a new hydrogen energy hub and is confident the project will demonstrate the ability of the Gippsland region to support such projects through the provision of infrastructure, a technical and skilled workforce along with ready access to services and utilities.

Mr Green said, “The rich resources in the region can support new energy industries and the availability of locations for large project sites close to infrastructure, services and utilities required also makes the regional an optimal place for emerging industries.”

O&M look forward to the HESC Pilot Project succeeding and seeing what the commercial-scale opportunities will bring to Gippsland, including a large boost to employment and the local economy.

O&M workman on site. Copyright of HESC.