German energy company RWE Dea said its British subsidiary started drilling for natural gas at the Clipper South gas field off the British coast. The company said work began using extended horizontal wells with hydraulically induced fractures at the Clipper South gas field on the British continental shelf. \"The platform was successfully installed last autumn and we now look forward to a successful drilling campaign using cutting-edge well technology,\" Ralf to Baben, chief operations officer of RWE, said in a statement. \"We believe our familiarity with this technology gives us the confidence to successfully apply it to the Southern North Sea.\" The company said the field contains about 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas in place. First gas is expected this summer. The British government last year raised taxes on profits from oil and gas production by 12 percent to 32 percent. Officials at RWE said the increase wasn\'t helpful but plans were still in place to develop the natural gas fields in the North Sea.