Fracking will take place in the East Midlands next year for the first time, under plans from shale gas explorer IGas.
Andrew Austin, IGas chief executive, told the Telegraph it was preparing to submit planning applications to drill and frack to test the flow of gas at two new locations, one either side of the Pennines.
“It is our intention to have permits in place such that we can drill and flow test wells at two sites – one in the North West and one in the East Midlands – in 2015,” he said.
The exploration in the East Midlands is likely to be largely funded by a French company – either GDF Suez or Total – both of which have bought into the search for UK shale while fracking is banned in France due to environmental concerns.
Mr Austin said that once fracking took place it planned to connect the sites up to the gas grid, supplying enough gas to fuel thousands of homes. “During testing it is anticipated that several million standard cubic feet of gas per day will be available to the grid. One million standard cubic feet a day is enough gas to meet the needs of between 8 – 12,000 typical homes,” he said.
IGas’s plans are likely to be welcomed by the Government, which hopes shale gas will bring down energy bills but which faced criticism from an influential Lords committee last month for the fact no fracking was actually taking place.