Novel Name : Mercenary Black Mamba

Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 468

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“What does he even think Peugeot, Renault, and Citroën are?”
“Yeah. It is a sad sight. Cheap Japanese cars are saturating the domestic market. And for someone in his position, he is not responding to it properly.”
Bonipas agreed. Chairman Margerie would have been enraged if he had heard their conversation. Japan is one of the biggest importers of oil. It is thus one of the most important customers of Total. Backing Nissan was one of Total’s strategies.
“If Margerie stops backing Nissan, I am willing to be his partner.”
Mu Ssang, insisted with offence. In Japanese, Nissan is short for “Japan Industries.” Such an arrogant name. Also, it was one of the Japanese corporations that used the Korean War to re-establish themselves. And it was not just Nissan that did so. The entire country of Japan used the Korean War as leverage to recover from their defeat in World War II.
People lamented the 36 years of Japanese occupation but the Korean War was a far worse event. As Koreans were killing each other, Japan made money from their violence. It was akin to a family fight that benefited the local criminal gang. Mu Ssang felt bitter whenever he thought about Japan. Ruined national image and pride were more embittering than economic loss.
“I’d like to give Margerie some advice. He should carefully choose his friends if he doesn’t want to face an early death.”
Bonipas smiled. Black Mamba would not be able to build an oil platform no matter what he did. He knew that too so he left a channel open for negotiation.
Old oil platforms produced less and less oil. Newly built ones produced low-quality oil over time. In the last five years, no new oil wells have been discovered. The Doba platform, which was overflowing with oil, was a precious asset.
Bonipas hated the United States as much as Mu Ssang hated Japan. He was anxious and worried about the possibility that Black Mamba might partner with a major American oil company. Major American oil companies like Shell, Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips have been buying over oil holding companies in the Middle East. In doing so, they were manipulating the prices and sales terms of the oil to their liking.
The advent of OPEC had caused their influence to diminish slightly, but American supermajor oil companies still ruled the market. Their primary sin was their unlimited greed — it caused them to dismiss the rational use of resources in favour of profit. Bonipas consciously ignored the fact that Total, a French company, was involved in the same shenanigans.
“Even he cannot do it alone, can he?”
“Well, he is overpowered, but he cannot build a modern platform with wooden poles and picks as people did in the 19th century. If you don’t cooperate with the oil cartel, you are bound to run into problems in each phase of probing, production, and transportation.”
“So it is difficult to use the oil pipes or docks that are already there?”
“The bigger hindrance is the conflict among the indigenous people in the area where the platform is located. The conflicts among armed masses in African and South American oil-producing countries, no matter the superficial cause, always relate back to oil. Right at this moment, the indigenous people in Nigeria, Colombia, and Ecuador have teamed up with NGOs, and are fighting against their governments.
“Well. I blame the governments and developers. They should have compensated them properly.”
Bonipas shook his head.
“Not necessarily. Even if they are properly paid, the indigenous people tend to ask for more. They exercise their property rights and bring up the destruction of wildlife to undermine the companies’ oil production, even if the companies rightfully acquired the development rights. Their goal is money. Three months ago, in the Niger Delta, the indigenous people destroyed all the oil facilities and killed the engineers. Shell, who was probing the sedimentary rock there, ran off. The Nigerian government, which received heavy complaints from Shell and the United States government, labeled the incident “an armed insurgency” and dispatched the army. Residents were sacrificed to heavy machine guns. Most political conflicts and military coup d’états in African countries are caused by dissatisfaction with the distribution of oil revenue. The Sudanese Civil War happened due to the same reason. The Christians and Voodoo followers in the South became rich thanks to oil. The Muslims in the North initiated the war to take over the oil wells. It’s all because of money.”
“It is said that a monk who has already tasted meat would eat all the bedbugs in a monastery. Human greed is the same everywhere. The external influence and environmental problems will be hard to deal with.”
“There are technical problems too. For example, once a drill goes 3,000 meters below the surface, the drilling fluid that cools the drill starts to boil. If the axis of the screw is askew, the uneven pressure destroys the bit. The drilling fluid is especially crucial.”
“What is drilling fluid?”
Bonipas looked at Mu Ssang derisively. Someone who is clueless as to what drilling fluid is is not suited to develop an oil well.
“Why are you surprised? I am not an oil developer but an eraser, one who wipes out another. I should be well versed in the direction of the wind and the vector of a bullet, but I am not obligated to know what the drilling fluid of an oil drill is. Everyone has something they are naturally good at.”
Bonipas was surprised by the flowery rhetoric of Mu Ssang. He was insinuating that he has the upper hand, so Bonipas should tread carefully.
“Huh. You could kill someone with your words. The drilling fluid is a chemical formula that cools the bit and captures the debris in a gel before bringing it to the surface. It is made by adding special chemicals to water such as tixoton that gives a gel-like quality to the liquid, an aqua gel that blocks subterranean water, fibertex that fills the cracks in the rocks, chiozzi that counters salinity, and dozens of substances. Drilling fluid made in the right conditions should cover the drilled hole with a layer that is four to 10 millimeters thick to block the subterranean water or seawater from seeping into the hole, effectively blocking the entrance to the oil layer. If the mixed oil erupts 20 meters into the saltwater layer, it becomes a “gusher” like Maracaibo. The high pressure is good news that indicates an abundance of oil in a small area. Who is directing the probing vessel in Doba?”
“Professor Mulsoli, who was introduced to me by the DGSE. He is supposed to have majored in energy resources engineering in graduate school.”
“So he is not really an expert. I will send someone who I trust. A gusher’s pressure could collapse the strata. It could pollute the environment. You must place a sturdy block under the rotating wheel of the pumping station so that any eruption of oil and gas will be blocked. This block is called a “preventer.” Only five major corporations have this technology. Total’s basic preventer is very reliable. However, the oil cartel is more closed off than the grain cartel. They compete fervently within the cartel but always cooperate to nip a newly emerging competitor. It is wise to work with them to obtain essential facilities in each step of oil development. Also, you don’t have to worry about procuring equipment. And…”
“You are giving me a headache. A gusher or pumper, whatever. If your intent was to intimidate me, you have succeeded.”
Mu Ssang, overwhelmed, waved as if to sweep away all of Bonipas’ jargon. Bonipas was once an inspector sent by the DGSE to back the overseas oil development of Total. He has learned many things in the field. He could tire Mu Ssang with details as long as he wanted. The amount of information could stress him out, and may even cause alopecia. Why would Mu Ssang need to be concerned with the specific details when that was the job of engineers?
“Leave the technicalities to technicians. I will handle the consortium. Don’t try to handle everything yourself unless you want your hair to look like mine.”
Bonipas caressed his remaining hairline comically. Mu Ssang, upon hearing his retort, laughed.
“Total should pay your agent fee.”
“You shouldn’t be stingy with all the money you have.”
Bonipas, complaining, took out his notebook.
“The Samaria farm area is 2,900 hectares. According to Total’s probing report, a total of 50 square kilometers in the Doba basin, including the sedimentary stratum in the Delta, could contain oil. If Total buys off the remaining area and develops oil platforms…”
Bonipas muttered, adding up the numbers. He tapped the notebook with the tail of his fountain pen. It was his habit when he had to make an important decision.
France has no oil. Germany has high-quality oil reserves across the country. The United Kingdom, just across the sea, has a lot of oil. God only hated France. France could not rely on nuclear power plants indefinitely.
‘It is a great opportunity for my fatherland to procure some oil reserves. Will he hand over the Doba oil field if I talk to him? But he will not spare me if he knows the truth later…’
Hesitation roamed in his mind. Governor of the Orientale province, Ibrahim Mutafa, who was bribed with a share in the Samaria farm, suddenly came to mind. Mutafa was suffering from severe neurosis ever since Black Mamba paid him a visit. A report said he was barely doing his duties as a governor and was tended to by a shaman every day.
He should not involve Total in such a situation. He could not handle the consequences of Black Mamba finding out about his plan. An uninvited visit by Black Mamba! He did not even want to think about it. He could not do it even if it was for his country.
‘Oh, well. If I am going to back him, I should do it properly.’
Black Mamba was Korean but was also a French citizen. To be frank, he trusted Black Mamba more than he trusted Total’s Margerie. Bonipas decided to give Total’s reports to Black Mamba.
The fountain pen stopped moving suddenly. Bonipas took out the military map of Chad and drew an oval over the Pende river.
“The Eastern Swordsman, or the Doba basin, is sloping. The East is higher than the West. According to Total’s reports, the anticlinal stratum starts from the Samaria farm and spreads toward the Pende river. Inside this oval, it is 100 percent certain that oil is pooling. The oval’s area, including the Delta, is 50 kilometers. The Samaria farm takes up 29 kilometers. The remaining 21 kilometers is national property, a river area except for some cotton farms. Buy off all the rest. It should be sufficient with 100,000,000 francs.
Mu Ssang’s eyes, deep like an abyss, stared at Bonipas. He used Dimensional Sight. It was a form of interference field. Unlike in fiction, it did not let the user control someone else’s mind at will. Instead, it increased the user’s charm, allowing them to influence their decision when the other party is hesitating. It was more effective against someone who was feeble-minded than someone with strong willpower.
“Will President Habre sell the land?”
Mu Ssang was ecstatic but did not show it.
“Don’t worry. It’s an abandoned marshland because it is routinely flooded by the Pende river. Habre will pick up his fountain pen when we show him 100,000,000 francs. Also, Makumbo, who was saved by you, is the Minister of Land and Infrastructure now. If I request it, he will hand over the cotton farms to us.”
Bonipas was confident. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the DGSE are simultaneously in charge of handling the African countries that were under French colonies. His word could easily get them abandoned riverbeds. They are paying them just to avoid a future conflict.
“Whoa. I never thought he would be useful.”
Mu Ssang muttered. One never knew what would happen in one’s future. Makumbo, who he wanted to beat to death, was useful to him now.
“Will you come to N’Djamena with me?”
“Ombuti is my manager. I will expect you to handle the purchase of the land.”
“It shall be done. I will deduct 1,000,000 francs from your pay. Wait a second. A thing like this should be done promptly.”
Bonipas took out a satellite phone. Djibouti and Chad both had poor telecommunication infrastructure. International phone calls took more than an hour to connect. The connection was unstable and was cut off routinely. Bonipas, who was hanging up, grinned.
“Tomorrow morning, Ambassador Faviere in N’Djamena will handle the transaction with Makumbo. Ombuti only has to sign it.”
Mu Ssang wanted to hug Bonipas. Professor Mulsoli had already recommended buying the entire Doba Delta. It was not an easy task to buy land in a foreign country and there were security problems. Bonipas resolved all the issues.
“Whoa! That was quick.”
“We must strike while the iron is hot. Seward, who was then Secretary of State of the United States, made a great profit with the purchase of Alaska 120 years ago. This purchase will make history too. Congratulations.”
“Haha. I do not trust the words of an agent. Seward paid 5 dollars per square kilometer and I am paying 1,300,000 dollars.”
Mu Ssang laughed maniacally..
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