The company is talking to Cuadrilla Resources about buying a stake in its licences in the Bowland shale formation in Lancashire.
The news comes just days after IGas, one of the companies granted a licence to explore parts of the UK, speculated that the UK could be sitting on top of untold shale gas resources.
Cuadrilla is among a small number of companies exploring the UK's shale gas potential. The company estimates that there may be as much as 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in its licensed areas.
It is understood that a deal between Centrica and Cuadrilla is expected to be concluded in the coming weeks, an event that will represent a real statement of intent for the future of the shale gas sector.