InfraStrata has started drilling at its controversial Woodburn Forest site in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and said it expects to complete the well within the next six weeks.
Stop the Drill campaigners are seeking an injunction to stop InfraStrata from going ahead with exploratory oil drilling close to a reservoir that supplies drinking water to thousands of homes.
The independent exploration company said well will target the P50 prospective resources estimated at 25 million barrels of oil within the Woodburn Forest prospect.
The well will be drilled to a depth of 2,000 metres with Infrastrata aiming intersect three conventional sandstone reservoirs, the Triassic Sherwood Sandstone, Lower Permian Sandstone and Carboniferous Sandstones.
Once completed, the well will be plugged and abandoned and the site restored to its former state, the company said.
InfraStrata said it will need to secure new consents and planning approval if it decides to conduct any more work on the field should the first well produce encouraging results.
Chief executive Andrew Hindle, said: “It has been five years since we were awarded a petroleum licence. In that time we have acquired the first extensive seismic surveys across the the Larne-Lough Neagh Basin in 2011 and 2012, confirming the prospectivity of the basin and ultimately leading to location of Woodburn Forest for drilling an exploration well.”
Woodburn Forest will be developed using conventional exploration. Infrastrata has promised the project will not now or in the future, involve the process of hydraulic fracturing. Consent to drill has granted by Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.