IGAS confirmed yesterday that it plans to drill an exploration well at Barton, near Irlam in Greater Manchester, to test for shale gas reserves.
The energy company said it plans to drill a vertical well on the football pitch-sized site and that the process will take eight to 12 weeks.
The controversial hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, technique – which environmentalists claim can cause earth tremors – will not be used during the process, IGas said.
IGas has been granted exploration licences from the government but its approval from the Environment Agency is still being processed, a spokesperson told City A.M yesterday.
It’s hoped that drilling will start in October but it may be later in the fourth quarter, the spokesperson added.
In the wake of the high-profile anti-fracking protests that occurred when peer Cuadrilla began drilling in Balcombe, West Sussex, IGas has set up a website and phone line for any related concerns.
Cuadrilla was forced to re-apply for planning permission at Balcombe last week after it admitted that its current application was legally ambiguous, only covering vertical rather than horizontal drilling.
The IGas spokesperson confirmed that IGas is only drilling a vertical well.
Recent reports have claimed that Britain is sitting on enough shale gas to power the country for the next 40 years.