Air and Gas Drilling Manual by William Lyons (Book Review)

Geology refers to the scientific perspective of studying the earth, that is, the analysis of its material components, all the chemical and physical processes that take place in both its interior and on its surface, as well as its basic history including even the life forms it supports. Consequently, geology incorporates many fields of study that are present in many literature works across the globe. However, for the purpose of this work, I will analyze a recently published book on mining – Air and Gas Drilling Manual.

Air and Gas Drilling Manual, by William C. Lyons

Essentially, mining incorporates the extraction of valuable minerals, gasses and liquids from the earth which exist as ores, liquids, seams, or veins (, 2013). However, in his book, Lyons addresses the issue of extracting gasses. Generally, this book illustrates various techniques, ways, procedures and undertakings necessary in successfully implementing a gas and fluid mining endeavor. Specifically, the book starts by illustrating various ways of setting up to start this kind of mining. It continues and provides an overlook on the necessary equipment necessary for ground breaking. Further, a section addresses the various down-hole equipments. This includes the drilling bits, pipes and relevant safety machines. The next section includes a detailed analysis of actual gas mining, with a specific reference to Nitrogen. Gas drilling models, the direct circulation and the reverse circulation models also feature in this book. There is a section that that addresses the requirements of drilling unstable gases and foams. In short, this book gives so much insight concerning the mining of gasses and fluids.

Some of the contents of this book are relatively surprising. For instance, the concept of rotary drilling used to drill boreholes in the rocky part of the Earth’s crust. This is a modern method applied in today’s world to drill borehole for water, gas, oil and other fluids that use pipelines. However, the surprising fact is that the same concept applied in today’s rotary drilling, using air compressors, is the same one that was in use in 1920s to drill the deep natural gas and petroleum wells (Lyons, 2009).

According to Lyons, there has been commendable improvement in the mining industry especially that concerning the extraction of fluids. The general technological advancements have impacted this industry too. In light of this, he argues that new configurations have made it possible for mining companies to experience more efficiently in their work. He argues that it is possible to simultaneously sink drilling bits while at the same time oil and natural gas. I totally agree with him because according to statistics, drilling firms are able to even double their production capacities compared to several years ago.

This book has really enlightened my understanding on the whole mining activity. To some extent, I now have different thinking altogether on this issue. For instance, before reading this book, I thought that down-hole mining equipments just included any kind of machines with drill bits. However, now I am aware that in air and gas drilling operations, there are three different kinds of bits involved (Lyons, 2009). There are the basic drag bits with fixed cutter non-movable blades, which best fit in drilling soft rocks. There are also roller cutter blades, which help in crushing rocks. Further, more there are air hammer bits used for drilling deep natural gas and oil recovery wells. Now I am obliged to think that deep gas extraction involves more mere use of any type of drilling bits.

After reading this book, I became aware of a number of things. First, now I understand about the importance of having perfect information before engaging in a drilling activity. According to this book, the success of any kind of mining depends on how well the all the mining parties are ready; the presence of suitable machines, the right budgets, and the actual number of personnel. All this depend on the amount of relevant information received before engaging in actual mining.

This is a very useful book with vivid and relevant information concerning the gas and oil extraction techniques and requirements. In light of this, I would recommend it to all the ministries of energy in all the countries that have recently discovered the presence of oil and natural gas under their territorial land. Drawing from the illustrations, examples, directions and diversified guidelines in this book, I am sure they could find easy to initialize their mining activities after going through it. This book too has a section with specific recommendations that are exceptional according to Lyons. For this reason too, I would recommend it to such ministries.


Mining is an important activity with reference to development trends across the globe. It plays an important role in facilitating direct economic growth to mining countries as well as a resource production activity for many different industries. Therefore, the above work by Lyons plays an important role in facilitating the understanding of concepts very vital in global economic development, especially considering that gas and oil mining constitutes approximately 30% of all mining activities in the world.



  • (2013). What is mining? Retrieved June 17, 2013, from
  • Lyons, W. C. (2009). Air and Gas Drilling Manual: Applications for Oil and Gas Recovery Wells and Geothermal Fluids Recovery Wells. Oxford: Gulf Professional Publishing.


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