Demonstrators since July have protested in front of a drilling site in the West Sussex village of Balcombe. Cuadrilla Resources is drilling an exploratory well there, which opponents fear will lead to hydraulic fracturing.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has led to an exponential increase in oil and natural gas production in North America. Critics of the practice fear it will lead to environmental degradation.
IGas said Thursday it was planning to drill an exploratory well to survey the shale natural gas potential on the outskirts of Manchester.
IGas created a website specifically for the purpose, offering concerned citizens the opportunity to provide feedback to the company.
"We are drilling a vertical exploration well," it said. "We are not hydraulically fracturing but just taking samples for analysis."
IGas said its operations would last no more than 12 weeks. It said it was using a mobile drilling rig it would remove once the operation is finished.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Thursday there may be 102 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the region.
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