Fracking firm Cuadrilla is to submit a planning application to drill up to four shale gas exploration wells, expecting a decision to be made within a few months.
The company said it will put forward its plans for two sites near Blackpool in Lancashire to drill, hydraulically fracture and test the flow of gas.
Once the planning application for the first site at Preston New Road has been validated by Lancashire County Council, a decision is expected within 16 weeks, said Cuadrilla.
A separate planning application for a second proposed site, at Roseacre Wood, will be submitted to the council a few weeks later.
Cuadrilla said public consultation for the two sites has involved more than 9,000 households.
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 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.”