Simple but wrong answers

There was one of those tragic accidents a few miles from me that reminded me that oft times there are simple but wrong answers to events. In other words, Occam’s Razor which states that “other things being equal, simpler explanations are generally better than more complex ones” is many times wrong.

What happened was that a house exploded. As you can see from the photo, this wasn’t just an itty bitty explosion. This knocked the house off the foundation and blew out walls. Two men, who were brothers-in-law, were killed. One of their wives was seriously injured.

What was the cause of the accident? Would it help if I told you that one of the men was a licensed plumber and he was helping install a gas water heater at the time?

The simple but wrong answer is that something happened during the installation of the water heater and that’s what caused the explosion. It turned out this is not what happened at all.

The first hint we had was when Anadarko, who has a number of oil and gas wells in the area, immediately shut down a well that was some 200 feet from the house and “out of abundance of caution” shut down 3,000 wells in the state. Anadarko, in my observation, does everything with public image in mind and when they shut down those wells, my spider senses started tingling. Their stock was also immediately hammered.

What was discovered was that there were abandoned oil and gas piping beneath this newly developed subdivision. And, come to find out, this practice is fairly common once piping from drilling equipment or tanks is no longer needed. Natural gas, which is odorless and colorless, had saturated the ground around the home and eventually starting seeping in through a hole with a sump pump. This house was going to explode at some point and it was totally coincidental that the two men were in the basement at the time.

Without going further into why the situation existed in the first place, the point is that sometimes:

  • The reason for something is indeed complex.
  • The obvious reason isn’t the actual reason.
  • Jumping to conclusions can lead you from seeing the truth.
  • The simple answer is sometimes wrong.
  • Fixing the problem is going to turn out to be hard but already we’re hearing “simple but wrong” answers from people who are clueless about the oil and gas business.

So how does this apply to politics? I dunno. What do you think?

Mark Rosneck

Written by Mark Rosneck

Site owner and bilagáana


How Did This Incompetent Crook Impale Himself On His Own Knife?!


Weekly Gaming/Tech Thread #32 – Non-Rigged Edition