In the book, Brian discovers how the “chief” of the oil rig in the Gulf of Thailand is siphoning off the company’s profits by working with a corrupt company to ship the oil from the drilling rig to the refinery. I got the idea to put that into the story from research I did in the early 1970s relating to multi-national energy corporations.
After the energy crisis that began in 1973, with the long lines for gasoline and the price spikes, some people became concerned about oil imports and the few multinational companies that controlled them. I co-wrote a book titled The Energy Cartel: Big Oil vs. The Public Interest. It detailed how the multinational corporations that owned production, shipping, refining and retailing operations charged themselves an excessive amount for shipping the oil on tankers registered in tax-haven countries in order to avoid U.S. taxes on their profits. At the time there was a select congressional committee looking into these issues at which I testified.
In the book, Brian realizes that an excessive amount is being charged for shipping his company’s oil. The motive is the personal profit of the rig chief and the corrupt shipping company owner rather than tax evasion, but the way he figures it out was informed by my earlier research.