The main drilling rig was delivered today to Rathlin Energy’s West Newton-B exploration site in East Yorkshire.
The company said in a statement equipment would be installed during a period of one to two weeks, before drilling began.
It said the borehole would be drilled to a depth of about 2,000m. The operation would be 24 hours a day and was expected to last six-10 weeks.
The conductor rig, which drilled the initial hole to a depth of 74m, was removed from the site last week, Rathlin said.
The company said most deliveries were planned during daytime but access to the site during drilling was required 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Road closures approved by East Riding of Yorkshire Council would remain, the statement said. Round-the-clock security at the site would also continue, it added.
A group of opponents have pledged to monitor operations at the West Newton-B site. They reported two cranes on the site today and more than 12 police officers on duty on the access route.
Rathlin Energy has planning permission to drill two wells at West Newton-B. Rathlin said the first well, to be called West Newton B-1, would target the Kirkham Abbey and Cadeby formations. These were also encountered during drilling the second well drilled at Rathlin’s neighbouring West Newton-A site, the company said.
“The rock samples and other data acquired during the drilling of West Newton B-1 will inform a subsequent programme of well testing to establish the well’s productive capability and any future drilling operations.”