Production of methane from an underground wet coal seam is initiated by drilling a well from the surface of the earth through the seam. Rather than pumping water to lower hydraulic head on the seam to permit desorption of methane within the coal, high pressure gas is injected into the seam to drive water away from the wellbore. Gas injection is terminated and the well is opened to flow. Initial gas production is return of injected gas, followed by a mixture of return injected gas and methane, followed by free methane from the fracture system of the coal, and then by methane desorbed from the coal. Upon return of displaced water to the wellbore, pumping operations remove water at rates that permit sustained production of desorbed methane.