Sound Oil has secured regional environmental approval for the Badile exploration well in Italy.
The Lombardy Regional Government has approved Sound Oil's environmental impact assessment for the well. The company expects the drilling authorisation from the Italian Ministry of Economic Development to follow.
The company said the environmental approval is a key step in the permitting process and allows it to start preparations for the well.
A plot of industrial land has been acquired for the well site and several long lead items are ready to be delivered.
Sound Oil chief executive officer James Parsons said: "Badile remains the largest and most strategic asset in our portfolio with an independently assessed best case estimate of 178 Bscf equivalent.
"The gas produced from Badile (following a successful exploration well and production concession award) would feed in to the energy hungry domestic market in Italy which has maintained pricing resilience against a backdrop of falling commodity prices."
In February 2015, Sound Oil secured drilling authorisation from the Italian Ministry of Economic Development for the second well in the Carita licence that includes the Nervesa gas discovery.
In 2013, the company drilled the first Nervesa well and achieved initial gas at the Rapagnano field. The company secured first gas at the Casa Tiberi gas field in July 2014.
The company plans to drill two appraisal wells in 2015 addressing the Southern lobe of the Nervesa discovery and the Santa Maria Goretti discovery.