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Coalbed Methane Units: Making the Square Peg Fit the Round Hole

Frederick M. MacDonald, Regulation and Development of Coalbed Methane (2002)

To put you in the proper mindset for a discussion on coalbed methane (CBM) units, harken back to a scene from the 1995 movie Apollo 13.2 As if the feat of simply getting the three astronauts back safely after the oxygen tank explosion which crippled the “Odyssey” (the command module) wasn't enough adversity, the carbon dioxide levels became dangerously high due to saturation of the scrubber filters on the “Aquarius” (the lunar module) in which they were surviving. When it was suggested that the filters from the Odyssey simply be used, everyone realized those filters were square whereas the ones for the Aquarius were round. As Gene Krantz, the flight director, said somewhat sarcastically: “Tell me this isn't a government operation!” After getting marching orders from Krantz, the NASA engineers then gathered in a room and laid out all the supplies the astronauts had on board to remedy a fix. One of the engineers states: “We have to make this [the Odyssey filter] fit in the hole for this [the Aquarius filter] using only these [the laid-out supplies]. The guys upstairs have handed us this one and we gotta come through.” Of course, the engineers did come through; albeit, the resulting contraption was not very pretty.

Well, now you know how a lawyer feels when an asset team manager states his company wants to form a CBM unit. The lawyer, with the invaluable assistance of geo