Gary Haywood, chief executive of Ineos Shale, said it is rolling out a major seismic survey this summer to pinpoint prime sites for fracking across swathes of northern England where it holds licences.
The firm said it is also looking to bolster its team by making six appointments - including a geophysicist, an operations geologist and a commercial director - as it takes steps to scale up the business.
It comes as Ineos Shale looks to set up meetings with parish and town councils in Yorkshire, Cheshire and the East Midlands in the coming weeks in a bid to tackle public concern in areas close to potential exploration sites.
Haywood told the Press Association: "We are firing the starting gun on our programme.
"Up until now, the 3D seismic data that has been shot in England covers around 400-odd kilometres. Over the next 12 months we hope to top that by shooting more seismic data than has ever been shot in the UK.
"We are ramping up the level of activity quite significantly to see if the geology is suitable for the industry in the UK. The economic benefits will be substantial, if the rocks are suitable and it's successful."
Ineos Shale emerged as one of the biggest players in the UK's nascent fracking industry when it won 23 licences in the government's 14th licencing round. It has vowed to invest £650m to establish 30 wells.
Haywood added: "We think the next one to two years will be very important for determining what the potential is for shale in the UK."
He went on to say that Ineos will carry out its seismic survey over the summer, before lodging planning applications for core drilling at the end of the year.
It expects to press ahead with core drilling - which establishes whether a site is viable for fracking - in 2017, before submitting a separate planning application to carry out test fracks at the beginning of 2018.
He said the firm was committed to meeting and addressing the concerns of local people and would hold public exhibitions where it would listen to concerns.