The company which wants to extract gas from shale rock beneath the Fylde is to apply in the next two weeks to drill four test wells.
Cuadrilla Resources is to submit a planning application to Lancashire County Council to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells at its proposed exploration site at Preston New Road.
It is expecting a decision to take around 16 weeks.
Plans will also be submitted to install a network of seismic monitoring stations within a 4km radius of the proposed exploration site.
As part of the process, planning and environmental consultants at Arup have produced a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that will accompany the planning application.
A separate planning application for a second proposed exploration site, at Roseacre Wood, will also be submitted to the Council a few weeks after the Preston New Road application.
Cuadrilla’s chief executive Francis Egan said:“This application could be a really important milestone for Lancashire and the UK as we seek to unlock Lancashire’s shale gas potential. The development of the shale gas industry has the potential to bring significant investment, community benefits and opportunities for local people and the North West and UK economies.
“We have undertaken extensive consultation and engagement with the local communities on these applications and have listened carefully to what people have told us. Where it has been reasonably practical to do so we have amended our plans to incorporate feedback and suggestions.”