Using Murphy’s Law in the Oil and Gas Industry


Often referred to as Murphy’s Law, this statement has become a universal truth that, if anything can go wrong, it will. It has been used as an epigram, and it is also sometimes extended to “anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time”.

Common application to oil and gas engineering

Considering the amount of innovation and competition in the oil and gas industry, it is not surprising that the hype surrounding it is as intense as the pseudo science behind it. One nifty little-known fact is that the industry has been known to eschew standard best practices in the name of innovation. The sexiest of the sexiest, if you ask me, is that the Oil and Gas Systems Engineering initiative has a long-term focus on strengthening the SE way of working. The most significant of its activities is the development of a body of knowledge in the fields of Systems Engineering, Systems Engineering innovation, and Systems Engineering strategy. The following is a condensed list of the key players, whose products and services will play a role in this multi-year initiative.

The top tier includes academia, research and development, equipment and service providers, and vendors of the aforementioned. In addition, there is a burgeoning community of enthusiasts, aficionados, and the like who are interested in the nexus of the energy industry. In short, Oil and Gas Systems Engineering is a sandbox for the oil and gas community to test, improve, and enhance its capabilities in order to better serve its constituents.


‘Murphy’s Law’ is a phrase that has become an icon for Irish culture. This famous motto, which means “If something can go wrong, it will”, has been used in movies and TV shows. It is also emblazoned on signs and pub doors.

The history of Murphy’s Law starts in the late 1940s when U.S. Air Force captain Edward Murphy was working on a high-speed rocket sled project. He was installing sensors to determine the deceleration of the body during a crash. There were two ways to connect each sensor. He mistakenly chose the other way, which resulted in incorrect readings.

The project was called Project MX981. The goal of the project was to determine the effect of gravity on the human body. It was also designed to determine safe ejection from high-speed jet aircraft.

Murphy was an aerospace engineer and test pilot. He was commissioned in the United States Army Air Corps in 1941. He served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was stationed in Burma, China, and India. After he finished his training, he became a research and development officer at the Wright Air Development Center.


Using Murphy’s Law is no walk in the park, but it can be a lot of fun. It is a little hard to explain to someone who isn’t familiar with Murphy’s Law how the whole thing works, but the answer is in the context of a specific project or activity. It’s easy to say that a task like this takes more time than it needs to, and that’s no good.

To prove the point, here’s a quick study of Murphy’s Law as it relates to a particular example. We’re going to look at what the famous mathematician came up with, and then compare it to the modern-day version of the same concept. There are also some interesting caveats to consider. For instance, what can you do about it?

The aforementioned recursive version of Murphy’s Law has the same problem as the aforementioned one, but it isn’t as confounding. The best way to solve it is to not make the same mistake twice.

Jenning’s corollary

During the mid-19th century, a number of pre-existing laws, many of which have roots in the U.S. Air Force, were cited as precursors to modern Murphy’s Law. These are:

The law states that something that is carelessly planned will take longer than expected. This could include a project, a love letter, or a business contract.

The law also states that nothing is foolproof. Anything can go wrong, and if it does, it will get worse. The only way to avoid this is to do something else first.

Another corollary is that something is more likely to be found later than it was originally thought to be. This includes mistakes in attribution. In other words, if you accidentally blame someone for a thing, it is much more likely to be your underlying who did it than it is to the person who is actually responsible.

The Law of Nature is different from Murphy’s Law. The Law of Nature says that nothing is perfect. Things are always going to be more difficult than you think. And they will always take longer than you expect.