IGas said it yesterday submitted a scoping request to Cheshire West and Chester Council "to begin the process of a planning application" for a temporary well site in the village of Elton near Ellesmere Port.
In a statement, the firm said: "The proposed development would be for one new well, initially to be drilled vertically and then horizontally. We also intend to hydraulically fracture and flow test the target formation, to assess the flow potential of the well.
"As part of the planning process, we will undertake community consultation to take account of feedback from local residents before submitting a full planning application.
"To help ensure the local community is kept informed as we go through the planning process, we will participate in a community liaison group alongside local parish councils."
According to IGas, the location is a "predominantly industrial area close to businesses which use high volumes of gas" and was chosen "after thorough analysis of the 3D seismic data and existing well logs". The company said it wants to further test the site’s rock formations, including shale, to "establish the quantity and quality of natural gas within the rocks".
John Blaymires, IGas chief operating officer, said: "This area of Cheshire has a proud industrial heritage, with excellent utility infrastructure and transport networks in place. There are also a number of significant employers in the area whose businesses rely on gas, which is something that we could potentially supply in the future, directly from the area.
"We are committed to meeting that need in a safe and environmentally responsible way and plan to keep local people abreast of our plans every step of the way."