Sunday, October 15, 2006

M.o.M.’s Guide to Coalbed Methane Extraction

Many avid M.o.M. readers have suggested that the M.o.M. follow up its recent guides to Edmonton tourism and university or college with a guide to coalbed methane extraction. The M.o.M. has bowed to popular pressure and prepared such a guide. Be warned, though! Following this guide could make you a billionaire. It will at least make you sound as smart as us.

1. Where will I find coalbed methane?
The first step in extracting coalbed methane is finding it. If you get up early enough, you’ll beat the rush of people who had exactly the same idea as you! Try surfacing from your hangover at nine in the morning instead of at noon. You might like to don your coalbed methane exploration gear. This consists of white pants, a black T-shirt, a pair of safety goggles, and a hard hat. Also bring a Swiss Army knife. You never know when you’ll need to stop and uncork a bottle of wine, cut a piece of paper, or use the toothpick to remove some grit from your teeth.

The best place to find coalbed methane is on private property – preferably the farm of some half-wit who can easily be conned into letting you set up business on his land. Stay away from lands belonging to the federal government, the provincial government, or Indian bands. They can afford a legal team. You, sadly, cannot. Not yet, anyway.

2. How do I set up my coalbed methane extraction process?
First of all, make sure no one is watching you. Some troublesome country folk have gotten wise to the fact that coalbed methane extraction can sometimes leave salty water on the neighbouring land and render it infertile for several decades. Do you want pitchfork-wielding in-breeders foiling your plot to retire in the Cayman Islands? No! So, remember: softly, softly catchie monkey, or in this case, methane.

Next you’ll need to transport and set up your infrastructure. There are technical guides by engineers and whatnot that can explain this, but why bother with them? The M.o.M. breaks this down into layman’s terms that anyone can understand.

3. Extracting the coalbed methane
The methane is in the coal bed. The challenge is getting it out. “Getting it out” is a less technical term for “extraction.” Because the coal bed is buried deep beneath the surface of the soil, you’ll need to do some digging. This is an ideal time to roll up your sleeves. Begin digging.

Have a break. Have a Kit Kat. You’ve earned it.

Continue digging.

OK, so now we reach the part where we’ve hit the hard bit. That’s the coal bed, or at least we hope so, for your sake. It would be pretty depressing to dig for eight months just to hit a big, useless boulder.

Now you’ll need your drilling equipment. And also 900 cubic metres of pressurized water. This is where it gets a little tricky. You need to drill into the coal bed and get water into it and pump out the methane. You also need to trap the methane in a methane receptacle so that you will have a marketable resource as opposed to a fart.

You should now have some methane trapped in a big vat. Don’t light up a celebratory cigar just yet, or else you might explode. In fact, it would be best not to do anything yourself. Why not leave all of the hard work to some cheap, imported labour? The Hondurans and Nicaraguans are pretty dependable for $8 per hour. Please go to the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) to find out more.

After you’ve done selling your methane to TransAlta or Epcor or whoever, it’s time to start living like a tycoon. This is not simply about conspicuous consumption, ie. buying a Lexus, wearing Gucci, buying a fishing lodge. Now that you are a self-made millionaire, you must observe the etiquette of other self-made Alberta millionaires:

Being rude to everyone with less money than you
This ranges from downright hostility and vitriol for bums (ie. spitting on them, throwing cash in their faces after mocking them for not having jobs), to barking orders at waitresses, to subtle condescension for regular middle-class losers such as teachers and bureaucrats.

Another thing you might consider:

Starting a right-wing think tank
The problem with this country is too many people are sucking off the teat of government. That includes single mothers, who think that getting preggers entitles them to free cash. Right-thinking Canadians should be entrepreneurial resource barons like you. This should be the argument behind every article and book produced by your new think tank. You can name it after yourself!

There, that’s our guide to coalbed methane extraction. Pretty handy, eh? And you thought it would be hard!