This brief account of how coalbed methane evolved as an important source of pipeline gas must include references to non-technical factors such as bureaucratic impediments — both governmental and corporate, cultural differences between the conservative coal industry and the free-wheeling oil and gas industry, and the palpable reluctance of the general public to accept at face value the free, published reports of federal agencies. It is necessary to understand that the methane program started as mine safety research and that the first attempts to capture and sell the gas were to help offset the costs of methane drainage and an effort to conserve a natural resource. In 1964, there were no large concerns about methane as a greenhouse effect gas so there was no urgency to capture it. By the time that it was becoming evident that coalbed methane was indeed a commercial pipeline gas, all the BuMines’ work relative to gas production was transferred to the newly formed Department of Energy.
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Geoscients who believe that a study of history is extremely valuable will enjoy this volume. It contains case histories of both exploration triumphs and breakthrough concepts. Fascinating stories of early discoveries, landmark technologies, and modern innovation are told by authors with privileged glimpses into critical thought processes. The 17 papers in the book include: A history of oil production in California; Subtlety of the east Texas field; Methane from coalbeds; Giant gas fields of Saudi Arabia; and History of a new play–Thunder Horse discovery, deepwater Gulf of Mexico.