Super Electric Eel Avatar
211 Libya Sea Zone Inciden
The bustling and crowded city of Tokyo did not manage to leave any impression on Chen Fan's memory. The only thing he could remember was Dai Yu. She had an oval face which was not stunningly beautiful but was charming enough.
It was 6pm and the evening lights were just being lit in the city.
Standing in the hotel parking lot, Chen Fan slapped on the car door as if nothing had happened earlier. Turning to Dai Yu who was beside him, he said, "I am going back now. How about you? When are you going back to China?"
"Why should I tell you?" Learning from Chen Fan, she did not answer the question directly.
"Well, since you don't want to tell me, it's fine!" Chen Fan was speechless for a split second, but he quickly laughed it off. "Bye, then. Ask them to send you back. I no longer need the car!"
Just after he finished speaking, he grabbed his handbag—the only thing he had brought to Japan—and walked towards the road.
"Hey, hey, hey!" After he had already walked for over 10 meters, Dai Yu stamped her foot and shouted, but her voice was covered by the noise from the passing vehicles.
Normal people travel overseas by plane but Chen Fan did by submarine.
Zhongyun was a little more than 800 nautical miles from Tokyo. In just three and a half hours, Chen Fan was standing once again in the cave among the reefs. He had actually traveled faster than by plane, taking into account the time needed for waiting, taking off and landing.
It was 12 days away from the first crude oil delivery. Chen Fan had to think of a way to disable a few of the oil wells within those 12 days.
The seven oil wells were all self-elevated types. Three pillars were forced into the seabed by a hydraulic system. When the platform stopped working, the pillars could be withdrawn, so that the whole platform could float on the sea. A tugboat would then be used to maneuver the platform to a new drilling spot.
Although where such platforms could work was restricted by the depth of the water and they could not function in deep sea, they could be shifted around freely and used repeatedly. Thus, they were a popular choice among the medium-to-small oil wells. Unlike expensive fixed oil wells, these mobile ones could be used for drilling in any place without the worry that oil reserves might be limited, as they could be shifted to a new location. In China, most offshore oil wells were of this type.
The next morning, once Chen Fan woke up, he started controlling the electric eel to swim towards the Graff Sea in the Libyan Exclusive Economic Zone.
By the time the electric eel reached the zone, he would still have 10 more days left.
Of course, he had to put up a show in the meantime. If he arrived there without any oil tankers, the other party might also consider it a breach of the agreement.
Five oil tankers, all registered with Panama, were under the name of Cruiser Offshore Company. At the moment, they had passed India and were three days away from reaching Saudi Arabia, where they would collect their crude oil.
Chen Fan had already made a call the night before, asking them to send two tankers, one 60,000-ton DWT and one 50,000-ton DWT, to sail towards Egypt, past the Suez Canal and then the Mediterranean, and finally towards Libya.
When the two tankers reached their destination, what could the other party do?
If they could not provide enough oil, they should just get ready to pay the compensation!
Even if they could provide the oil, it was no big deal. Chen Fan could sell it. It was just that he would be wasting his time without making any profit.
The tankers needed six and a half days to reach their destination, while the electric eel needed two.
Two days were neither too long nor too short for Chen Fan. When the electric eel finally arrived, he was not really tired from the boring journey as he was already used to traveling long distances.
Maybe God was on Chen Fan's side. After he found a place and made the electric eel wait until midnight, the calm sea was already filled with fog. The white vapor reduced the visibility to less than 50 meters and Chen Fan could only see a blurry orange flame burning on the drilling platform.
To avoid choosing the wrong target, the electric eel deliberately moved closer to the platform to confirm.
Then, it made a quick dive into the 120-meter-deep seafloor in order to find a way to destroy the oil well.
An underwater drilling rig was made by first inserting a drill pipe into the production layer where the crude oil would be stored and then connecting the oil extraction pipe. Following that, a huge valve would be built on the seafloor to control the flow of crude oil and gases.
The oil wells here were all shallow self-extraction types. Because the pressure under the seabed was higher than outside of it, the oil would spray into the platform via the pipes automatically without any human effort.
Destroying the facilities here was a piece of cake. The electric eel only needed to damage the 5-meter-high valve standing on the seafloor in order to completely disable the drilling platform above.
At 12:25am, in the number three platform's main control room, rows of monitoring equipment had been working day and night, loyally recording any data about the oil wells and the extraction process. Furthermore, they would send various commands based on the changes in the data collected.
This was a fully automated control room, one that combined the most advanced technologies in all of Japan. In theory, even if nobody was operating the system, the oil extraction process would still be completed successfully.
Of course, that was only in theory. In reality, nobody would leave such an important job, one that could affect the whole company drastically, to just machines.
Usually, there would be two technicians on duty. However, on that day the technician called Hiroto Uchida was on medical leave, and only Ryota Saka, who was aged 33, was on working.
"Anfina, it is only three more days to my leave. I would like to go to Tripoli to buy some winter clothes. Do you have any good places to recommend?" Ryota Saka put his legs on the flashing devices around him, closed his eyes in self-absorption and gently spoke to a Libyan lady in fluent Arabic.
He met this young lady, who was the daughter of a trader, when he last went to Tripoli to purchase something. Away at sea most of the time and adept in Arabic, he was immediately attracted to this tall lady with brown skin. He quickly applied for two days of leave in an attempt to chase her.
Maybe his high monthly salary of 20,000 USD was too tempting, or maybe he was very experienced. In any case, when he boarded the ship, the lady was at the pier to send him off!
A soothing voice came from the satellite phone. "I will go with you. You are a foreigner and may get deceived easily!"
Yes! I was waiting for this line! Ryota Saka was overjoyed in his heart, but he continued speaking in a polite voice. "Well, thank you so much. To show my appreciation, I will treat you to lunch at Ter... Oh, sh*t..." He stopped his sentence in an abrupt, shocked voice.
Blare! Blare! Blare! An ear-piercing alarm sounded off throughout the platform.
Clack! Ryota Saka quickly threw the phone aside and hastily jumped up from his seat. He swiftly opened the fist-sized plastic cover in the middle of the devices and smacked at the red button beneath.
This was an emergency button only to be used when a major problem occurred and automated control was ineffective. After hitting the button, all devices handling the extraction process in the drilling platform would stop and the valve beneath the platform would also be closed.
"Oil extraction pipe pressure suddenly dropped by seven atm. The two oil detectors beside the valve both indicate that there is crude oil, with a viscosity of 4.3mPas, in the seawater..."
Ryota Saka's desperate roar was amplified by the high pitch speaker at the top of the platform, completely covering the already loud alarm.
Under normal circumstances, he would not be in such a panic. Even if there was a leakage in the extraction pipe, he just needed to close the valve. And this command would have been automatically given when the detectors found that there was oil in the seawater. His act of pressing the emergency button was actually unnecessary.
Then why was he in such a state?
Because the valve was malfunctioning...
Needless to say, it was a severe oil leakage. If nothing was done immediately, they might need to face the huge fines set by the Libyan government.
In less than 30 seconds, a series of rapid footsteps was heard on the iron-plated floor. Over 20 awkwardly-dressed men dashed into the control room.
"What happened?" they shouted, before being able to even stand properly.
"Forty seconds ago, the extraction pipe started leaking and the valve is malfunctioning. Now, we already have seven underwater oil detectors indicating a leakage. We only installed a total of 16..."
"Quick. Work boat one and two, go and set up an isolation belt two kilometers around here. Oil retrievers, take in the oil whenever you discover any. We cannot afford to let the Libyan government find out about this," director Shota Watanabe said in a strict tone after listening to the report. "Diver Team, wear your SH2000 diving suits. Now go underwater and investigate the valve's condition."
At the moment, under the high-power searchlight, the people on the platform could already see black viscous fluid rising to the surface. In just a short while, the fluid surrounded the whole platform.
Perhaps the only fortunate thing was that the platform was only a little over 100 meters from the seabed and their divers could easily go underwater, protected from the pressure by their rigid suits. It was not likely to be another Gulf of Mexico level of tragedy.
The diving suit was made from a strong 6000-series aluminium alloy, weighted 500 kilograms, and had a special protection layer on the outside, allowing one to dive up to 400 meters deep. Instead of calling it a diving suit, it might be more appropriately named a mini-submarine. This was because it not only had a propulsion system, but also a hydraulic pressure robotic arm, an ultra-shortwave underwater communicator, life support and many other cutting edge technological devices. Released from a customized pod, it could allow one to work underwater for five hours continuously.
Twenty minutes later, the divers reached the valve and sent images of the place back to the control room using highly sensitive cameras and connection lines.
It was a bizarre accident that nobody could have expected even if they opened their skulls and heated their own brains to 180°C...
A great white shark, six meters in length, had half of its belly bitten away by some unknown organism. The cables connecting the valve and the drilling platform were wound around its body, with many of them already snapped.
Above the valve, the steel pipe, half a meter in diameter, had a large part of it torn off by something. Oil flew out from the opening continuously...
There was total silence in the control room. Apart from the occasional shrill yelling of workers in shock, nothing else could be heard.
The images on the screen made them feel that they were merely dreaming or hallucinating. No matter how hard they rubbed their eyes, the reality was hard to believe.
It was evident that there had been a horrifying battle. A great white shark was killed by something and by coincidence, bit the cables into pieces.
That the cables were snapped was still acceptable. The bite force of the great white shark could be ranked in the top three among all the animals. Although the electronic shark repellent and anti-shark cables were installed, if a great white shark really wanted, it could have bitten the cables off. Although its teeth might fall out, they would grow back again.
But the torn oil extraction pipe?
Forget the shark. Even if a dinosaur were at fault, the pipe would not have been damaged this badly!
The pipe was so thick and huge. Were all the fishes so blind that they could not avoid it?
"Err... send, send people down to connect the cables now. We need to close the valve as quickly as we can and then send underwater robots down before repairing the damaged pipe..."
"Roger!" two divers answered simultaneously. The cables could be reconnected easily. A temporary repair would only require a day, and the cables could be replaced in the future. But the oil extraction pipe repair would be much more troublesome. The robots would first need to remove the entire pipe from the valve and raise it up to the platform. Under lucky conditions the process would take about five to six days, but there might be other unforeseen incidents such as an oil well leakage.
"Hey, platform two and four? Send your oil retrievers here. There has been a crude oil leakage..."
Let us turn our attention to platform number five.
In the dense fog, only the burning sound of fire and the sound of sea waves hitting the platform's pillars could be heard.
All of a sudden, a sharp warning alert broke the silence!
After a series of disorganized footsteps and worried outcries, Daisuke Maruyama was the first to dash into the control room.
"What is happening?" he shouted.
"Maruyama, we are done for. Our oil-control valve has a problem. According to the system's auto detection, the integrated electronic module on the valve is experiencing a short circuit due to some reason…"
"What?" Daisuke Maruyama almost fell to the ground. The electronic module on the valve was installed in the interior. If it was malfunctioning, the whole cover had to be removed in order to make a replacement.
On land, this would only take one to two hours. But now it was installed on the seabed, over 100 meters underwater.
The valve was connected to the oil layer from below and the platform from the top. They had to seal the openings, remove the whole valve and take it onto the platform for repair.
Because it was assembled from many sophisticated electronic components, even a bit of water in the interior would completely destroy it.
Half an hour later, divers reported that the valve cover had gone very loose due to some loose screws or maybe other reasons. Sea water with pressure more than 10 times the atmospheric pressure gushed inside, causing a short circuit in the electronic components…