GREILICKVILLE -- A local oil and gas exploration company is test drilling for natural gas in Elmwood Township.
Traverse City-based Presidium Energy began drilling one well this week, and it has permits for about a dozen other area sites.
"It's purely a test well," said Shane Miller, operations manager at Presidium.
The drill rig is east of Bugai Road between M-72 and Hoxie Road, on property owned by Elmwood Township Trustee Terry Lautner. He did not return calls for comment.
Linda Novak was alarmed when the rig arose near her home, creating noise and obstructing the picturesque view of West Grand Traverse Bay.
She was relieved to learn the drilling should only last a couple days, but would have liked some notice.
"It just seems like the neighborhood and the township should know what's going on ahead of the fact," she said. "That's not the way to go about business, to say the least."
Presidium received permits to dig from the state Department of Environmental Quality.
"As they go along through here, they drill a well, see what's there, test it out as part of their exploration phase, and depending on what they find, they move on or make decisions based on that," said Rick Henderson, a district supervisor at the DEQ's office in Cadillac.
After a few days of drilling, the large rig will come down and could be replaced with a well head about five feet tall.
One producing well is allowed per 80 acres. They aren't very loud, but compressor facilities that service multiple wells make noise, Henderson said.
The DEQ regulates the amount of noise and works with companies to avoid building the facilities in residential areas.
Similar wells have been drilled in Leelanau County before, but they weren't productive, he said.
Area residents wondered if the well could power a gas-fired electrical plant, since there is an electrical transmission substation proposed for Lautner's property.
But one well wouldn't provide enough gas for an electric plant, said Dave Davis, a supervisor for the DEQ in Lansing.
"I don't think the two are related," he said.
Miller, of Presidium, wouldn't comment on where the gas would go if wells are established.