Cuadrilla said it started drilling in West Sussex. Francis Egan, the company's chief executive officer, told the BBC the surrounding community would barely notice.
"The community should not really notice much activity at all unless they want to walk down to the site and see it," he said. "There will not be a lot of noise."
Demonstrators have flocked to the site to protest the company's drilling campaign. Dozens of activists were arrested and two people glued themselves together earlier this week.
Environmental groups said they're worried about the potential for hydraulic fracturing during Cuadrilla's drilling campaign. The process of drilling for oil and natural gas, known as fracking, is believed a source of groundwater contamination by some observers.
Egan said his company doesn't expect to find natural gas in its West Sussex campaign. He said no fracking currently is planned. Additional permits are needed if the company intends to employ the controversial drilling practice.