Wildcat is a story about the Fiji Penny, a vintage drillship captained by McDeere and flagged out of Jakarta which is contracted by an Australian oil company, Southern Cross, to drill an oil and gas exploration well in a deepwater concession area in northern Indonesian waters.
During a refit before she sails the Fiji Penny is rigged for destruction by Pratanto, a shipyard owner who has been bribed by Southern Cross’s crooked lawyer, Hacker, to butcher the drillship’s safety systems. Hacker, with the financial backing of a shady Swiss bank and an African despot, wants to ruin Southern Cross and has done a deal with a crooked Indonesian government official to take over the concession when Southern Cross is inevitably ruined by the Fiji Penny’s destruction.
Wildcat explores all the detail of how deepwater offshore oil gas exploration drilling works but without being technically overloaded.
As the well is being drilled, and at the height of an unforeseen tropical storm, a giant gas release and explosion takes place and the Fiji Penny sinks with great loss of life. McDeere survives, is eventually found and rescued, and makes it home to Jakarta.
As all the loose ends come together Pratanto disappears, Hacker finds McDeere in Jakarta and tries to kill him and Hacker is killed by a hitman working for the Swiss bank in order to protect their investment. McDeere makes it back to Perth for police interviews.
McDeere also makes good on his earlier disastrous romantic interlude in Perth with Kelley, the PA to Southern Cross’s chairman.