But Buccleuch has confirmed it will not be proceeding with IGas, which has surrendered its exploration licence granted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change for the Eskdale area.
John Glen, chief executive of Buccleuch, said: “We remain committed to examining whether there is a viable unconventional gas resource in the area.
“This has the potential to be a valuable energy source for Scotland. We have always maintained that as a long established locally based business we would only proceed in the right circumstances and that remains the case.”
And Mr Glen has also said that if a new licence were to be granted by the authorities they would work with the ‘right partner’ to ensure that any exploration at Canonbie is undertaken in an ‘environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner’.
He added: “There is of course a moratorium in place on unconventional gas exploration but we believe it would be sensible, at the right time, to at least establish whether a viable energy source exists.
“Should we reach a stage of taking matters forward, the project would be subject to all appropriate planning processes and we will continue to consult with the community.”