Dr. Marv accidentally developed OILIX through genetic modification of the naturally occurring planktonic microalgae Botryococcus braunii. The altered algae thrived in warm, arid environments, and used photosynthesis to consume biological materials, producing a substance indistinguishable from naturally occurring high-quality petroleum as a by-product. OILIX thus enabled commonly available biomass to be processed into massive quantities of oil in any suitable environment. As this permitted 96 octane gasoline and even aviation fuel to be produced at relatively little cost, as well as little use of machinery and manpower, OILIX became a sign of hope during the severe energy crisis at the turn of the 20th century. Each kilogram of algae yields 800 grams of crude oil. About 70% of this crude can be converted to gasoline, and about 25% into aviation fuel. The resulting gasoline has an octane rating of 96. For each hectare, 85 kilograms of OILIX can be produced per day. It was thus seen as a more economic alternative to other substitutes for mineral oil such as automobile methanol, sand oil, shale oil, and bio-mass rectification.
- Main article: Zanzibar Land Disturbance
On his way to reveal OILIX at the 1999 World Energy Conference in Prague, Zanzibar Land agents hijacked Dr. Marv's plane and kidnapped him in an attempt to secure the OILIX formula, thus increasing Zanzibar Land's global influence. Knowing that the desert nation was an optimal location for OILIX production, Zanzibar Land's leader Big Boss planned to dominate the global oil market and thus the economies of practically every developed and developing nation. Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar, a willing citizen of Zanzibar Land, posed as a prisoner in an attempt to retrieve the formula from Marv, but ultimately killed him without locating it. Unbeknownst to Zanzibar Land, Marv, a video game fanatic, had hidden the OILIX formula inside an MSX cartridge. Ex-FOXHOUND agent Solid Snake managed to retrieve the MSX cartridge and successfully escape Zanzibar Land with the OILIX structural plans.
Behind the scenes
Botryococcus braunii is a real-world species of algae that is currently under research as a source of potential bio-fuel. Examples of genetically modified varieties include Showa and Ninsei.
Though OILIX was intended to play a major part in averting the energy crisis of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, it is never referred to again in the Metal Gear series, outside of the Previous Operations summary in the sequel Metal Gear Solid. In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Roy Campbell mentions that the world turned to the war economy in the 2010s, partially as a result of the decline of the oil market, and Big Mama mentions that "oil and fuel have become as rare as diamonds," though there should be no lack of oil if OILIX had been successfully utilized. However, the same game features exploding oil barrels, the PMC forces have no problem fueling their vehicles, and there is no sign that energy production is a problem. It is possible that these comments simply refer to how difficult commodities as a whole are to obtain in the many war-torn parts of the world.
In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Doktor, after collecting around 20 left arms from cyborg commanders, will comment that the Patriots had been close to discovering a perpetual energy source prior to their destruction, although it is unclear whether this was intended to hint at the Patriots confiscating OILIX to research its properties and mass-produce it or not.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake - User's Manual, MSX2 (1990).
Notes and references
- ^ Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Kojima Productions/Platinum Games (2013).
Doktor: More Patriot data, yes... Oh? I had no idea they were so close to a perpetual energy source. Fascinating...