Cuadrilla has announced it expects to start fracking at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire in the coming week.
The hydraulic fracturing process will take around three months to complete for both the horizontal exploration wells, with initial flow results expected in the first quarter of next year.
The announcement follows the government’s go-ahead for Cuadrilla to frack at a second exploration well last month.
Consent for the first horizontal well was granted in July earlier this year.
CEO Francis Egan said: “On completion of hydraulic fracturing and commencement of gas flow, we expect to have, in the first quarter of next year, an initial assessment of how much natural gas is likely to be recoverable from these first Lancashire shale wells. This will allow us to make an assessment of the commercial viability and future of this exploration site.
“Lancashire has benefited to date from over £11 million of investment generated by our exploration operations. This investment will grow very significantly if we move from exploration into commercial production.”
He added the company is confident the flow rates will demonstrate “Lancashire can play a major and leading role in safely providing a new source of natural gas” for the UK.
Last month, three anti-fracking protesters were jailed after they stopped a convoy of lorries with drilling equipment in Lancashire last year.