Episode 18: Tainted hero
Kinki Corporation wins the bid for Iran’s Sarvestan oil field in partnership with Orion Oil Company. Gaining the support of Japan Oil Corporation, Kinki Corporation also receives a five percent investment from Tokyo Corporation, and starts to drill for oil.
Three years and eight months after the successful bid, Iki, who has now become the deputy CEO, summons Hanawa, a subordinate during his time at Kinki Corporation US, and makes him his secretary. Iki, who has control of human affairs, general affairs, operations and overseas ventures, effectively has the authority to lead all aspects of Kinki Corporation’s operations. Meanwhile, Hyodo, who had been the head of the Petroleum Division, is promoted to be the managing director in charge of the Energy Division which integrates oil and gas.
Three wells have been drilled at Sarvestan but not a drop of oil has come out. Although a fourth well is being drilled, a total drilling cost of 5 billion yen has disappeared into thin air.
Then, they are contacted regarding an occurrence of lost circulation in the fourth well at a depth of 4,750 feet and a dangerous situation in which the well may blowout at anytime. Lost circulation is a phenomenon where “mud” (drilling fluid) in the well is lost in highly permeable geological formations such as a cavity or fissure, causing a collapse of the oil well shaft and eruption of the wellbore. Hyodo immediately heads for the site, and looks for ways to dig through to a depth of 5,000 – 8,000 feet where there is thought to be oil. However, because of the conclusion by the people in charge of the site that it is impossible to drill any further, Hyodo has no choice but to deem the fourth well an abandoned well too.
In response to the abandonment of the fourth well, Yamashita, the new president of Japan Oil Corporation, decides to cease supporting Kinki Corporation. Because Iki has detected a good oil reservoir in the fourth well, he asks Daimon to drill a fifth well. However, Daimon suggests that they pull out from Sarvestan as they cannot raise funds with the withdrawal of Japan Oil Corporation. Iki replies that if he had been the Daimon of the past, he would have said to drill the fifth well. These words enrage Daimon who yells that all Iki does is insist he is right and hide from the truth.
Not giving up on Sarvestan’s development, Iki visits Takenaka, who is familiar with the Middle East oil situation. Takenaka is friends with Prime Minister Tabuchi so he is able to convey the King of Iran’s strong desire for the continued development of Sarvestan to Tabuchi, and a plan by the government to make Japan Oil Corporation resume its aid.
At that moment, Iki, who is headed for a board of directors meeting, is stopped by Kakuta and hears about Daimon’s hefty losses in the cotton market. Furthermore, besides Ihara, the head of the Cotton Division whom Daimon issues instructions to, no one knows the exact amount of losses.
Iki attends the board of directors meeting and broaches the cotton market issue, but Daimon says he will take full responsibility and does not attempt to give any explanation. Daimon announces that the company will pull out from Iran at the meeting. Iki tells Daimon that he is trying to obtain the support Japan Oil Corporation, and asks him to wait for their decision. However, Daimon gets annoyed that Iki has not come up with concrete measures.
Witnessing the tense exchange between Iki and Daimon, Kakuta contacts Satoi, who is now the president of Takubo Industries. Kakuta reports Iki’s plans to drill a fifth well and Daimon’s losses in the cotton market.
Chisato visits Iki’s apartment to have a meal with Iki, Naoko and her husband. Then, Samejima suddenly arrives. Noticing Chisato and seeming suspicious of her relationship with Iki, Samejima adopts an insolent attitude as he tells Iki that Tokyo Corporation is also getting out of Sarvestan.
Iki receives a call from Takenaka right after Samejima leaves. Takenaka says Tabuchi will oblige Iki. Iki, who must immediately negotiate with the King of Iran, apologises to Chisato for postponing the meal with Naoko and Tomoatsu.
Together with Hyodo, Iki visits Dr Forzy in Tehran and asks for the king’s help. Then, he summons Kaibe, who is in Kinki Corporation US, to Japan. Iki had pooled profits from foreign currency transaction gains during his term at Kinki Corporation US and gets Kaibe to deliver 10 million yen. It is money meant for Tabuchi.
Iki, who promptly visits Tabuchi’s residence, says that he has a feed mixture for the cranes that Tabuchi rears and hands over a box. The 10 million yen that Kaibe had brought is hidden beneath the feed inside the box.
That night, Iki visits Tanigawa. Tanigawa says he will be going to Maizuru again tomorrow because of the erection of the memorial to their comrades who had died in Siberia. Iki drinks himself unconscious, and the following morning, Tanigawa sends him off. Tanigawa looks worried for Iki.
Japan Oil Corporation decides to continue its support of Kinki Corporation in response to the strong request from the government. Daimon receives word about this from Iki. He reminds Iki that this will be the last one and gives permission to drill the fifth well. Iki is about to leave Daimon’s office but stops in his tracks and once again advises Daimon to immediately put an end to the cotton market matter; it will be his ruin if this goes on.
Iki heads for Sarvestan with Hyodo to be present for the drilling of the fifth well. Shortly after the start of drilling, a telex addressed to Iki is received from Tokyo. It carries news of Tanigawa’s death. Iki returns to Japan at once and goes straight to the funeral parlour to see Tanigawa for the last time. Tanigawa had continued to work on Sakuhukai’s newsletter despite a persistent cold that had aggravated and led to pneumonia. Iki is deeply grieved by the death of Tanigawa, who had understood him more than anyone else.
At the same moment, Daimon learns that his losses in the cotton market has ballooned to 4.5 billion yen. He recalls Satoi’s words, “You will be deposed by Iki one day.” Summoning Satoi, Daimon asks if he wants to return to Kinki Corporation. In response, Satoi says he will come back on condition that Iki is removed from the company.
In the midst of this, a gas explosion occurs at Sarvestan’s fifth well …
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