The drilling rig that will be used to drill the U.K.'s first shale gas has been delivered to oil and gas exploration company Cuadrilla's site in Lancashire, the company announced on Thursday.
With planning permission acquired, Cuadrilla plans to drill two of the four horizontal shale gas exploration wells this year.
A pilot well to a depth of 3,500 meters will be drilled from which samples will be taken at various levels within the shale rock to decide where best to drill the horizontal wells, the company said.
The U.K. government approved Cuadrilla’s plans to explore for shale gas in Lancashire on Oct. 6, 2016.
Fracking for shale gas was halted in the U.K. after Cuadrilla's attempt to frack caused earth tremors in 2011.
The topic is a sensitive one in the U.K. with fracking opponents raising environmental concerns over the project. Nonetheless, the company plans to go ahead with drilling amid ongoing protests.
"With the decline of North Sea gas and our ever increasing reliance on gas imports, including shale gas imported from the U.S., developing an indigenous source of natural gas is critical for U.K. energy security, our economy, jobs and the environment," said Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic