Independent oil and gas producer Third Energy has applied for a permit to extract shale gas by hydraulic fracturing at a well in Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire.
The application is currently being assessed by British authorities. If successful, Third Energy plans to carry out a test drill at the site, using the shale gas extracted to produce electricity at a nearby gas-fired power plant, but if substantial amounts were found the gas would pass through the national grid.
"We know that the gas is present but it is only by actually hydraulically stimulating the rock that we can understand the potential of the gas to flow and the likely volumes that can be produced," said Third Energy's Operations Director John Dewar.
Third Energy's well is located in the Bowland shale formation that experts estimate contains the bulk of Britain's shale gas resources.
Britain is estimated to have enough shale gas trapped below its surface to meet its gas needs for decades. But deployment of the fracking technology required to release the gas has been slow because local planning hurdles and massive protests by environmental campaigners.
However, Third Energy's application shows shale gas developers are continuing to push for exploration despite the drawbacks as they try to establish how much of Britain's shale resources can actually be recovered.