Chris Watts: Inside the Oil Drum

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In the same way that the fairy tale presented on Facebook by the Watts family is inverted into a grotesque nightmare in real life, there’s another macabre mirror built into this story.

The fetus comes into being out of the oily soups, hot blood, salty sperm and sweat of the father, and the yolky red enzymes of the mother’s womb. What is the reverse of this process? Turning an egg back into its constituent elements – back into albumen oil, back into a separated yolk, back into its shell.

The intentional conversion of not only an unborn child, but three living people into oil is an inversion of the fairy tale we know as being alive, coming into being, and life itself. That’s exactly what happened here, and it took the mechanical psychology of an oil man to come up with, didn’t it?

Scott Peterson also worked with industrial chemicals and fertilizers. He also had a pregnant wife. His job was to sell stuff that helped plants grow, but stuff that’s toxic to human beings. Chris Watts’ job was to make stuff that helps engines work, and keep the lights on in his house. Oil is also toxic to human beings.large-well-site-tank-battery-and-tank-truck_ny074d_y__F0000

Now, since we know so much about Thrive and Multi-Level Marketing, what is there to know about Chris Watts’ job at Anadarko?

The oil and gas industry in general is a very industrial type of setting. It involves physical work, dangerous work, and the intentional attrition, transformation and transit of solid, liquid and gaseous geological materials.

In a basic sense it involves chemicals, storage and piping systems. The whole tanking arrangement is like human pregnancy – it’s a period of limbo before the “product” is ready to come out and be used.

In an even more basic sense the oil industry converts raw material into refined products that can be used – often as fuel. So natural building blocks in a raw form are streamlined and sequestrated into original elements, and these are then recycled as energy fuel.

The equation at its most simplest>

living things = organic compounds = purified = fuel for use by other more advanced living things

Chris Watts’ motive lies somewhere in that equation.

But let’s get closer to the industry Chris Watts worked in. In Multi-Level Marketing we imagine levels, products, milestones and consumers. We might also imagine a giant pyramid crushing downward on its user base, a pyramid actually crumbling at its foundations, but a beacon of  blinding light at the top.

Andarko’s schematic also has levels, broken laterally into several dominoes, and broken vertically into different strata and hierarchies. But let’s examine just one layer of the pyramid.

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Chris Watts’ turf was really the central green domino. The one with the cylindrical tank sitting on it. Site maintenance.

There’s very little information about what precisely Chris Watts did at Anadarko. According to his Andarko pay stubs, Chris Watts was an “operator” earning $61 000 a year, less than $5000 a month. We also know that prior to working for Anadarko he was an auto mechanic at a Ford Dealership. So it’s likely his work at Anadarko was similar; as a very low level mechanic-type technician, but with very little emphasis on the technical side of the work besides a basic grasp of mathematics.

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In other words, Chris Watts was probably being paid to go out and get his hands dirty on many of the sites. As such he’d know where the sites were, which ones were more isolated than others, and which required the least maintenance.

Now let’s look at a day in the life of an operator.

In the above clip the operator refers to his job role, and that one has to be “self-motivated” and that the work has to be done “in a timely fashion”. In other words, it’s a tough, gritty, stressful job, and sometimes hard to keep one’s chin up day in and day out. There’s also a schedule, a timeline and a deadline to all of it. An operator is constantly on the clock, just as the oil that’s being “brewed” occurs to a perfect schedule.

An operator is the dog’s body of the oil and gas industry. He’s the mop up guy who gets sent out when a bolt breaks or a pipe springs a leak. Low level everyday maintenance stuff. He’s the dish washer of the industry. He’s there to keep the engines running and to make sure the processes keep going smoothly.

“Throughout the day we’re just checking mechanical integrity…”

Looking at the mosaic of activity above, there’s an impression of long, lonely hours in a hostile industrial environment. It’s a world with hard edges, a world that’s about the maintenance and sustainability of constant change.

Fullscreen capture 20180916 144341 Now, one can imagine after a day busting his butt in the real world, cranking bolts tighter, fixing shit, removing rusted structures, being burned by the Colorado sun and blown by the wind, the whole up at dawn spiel, Shan’ann’s cosy life singing songs on social media for Thrive had to be grating. And if her MLM spiel amounted to a lot of colorful noise but basically just nonsense [and no money] then his hard life had to feel even harder.

In contrast to what he was doing, it had to feel like she was doing nothing, or that whatever she was doing, he was working hard the whole time and she was out having fun and spreading smiley faces on social media.

Now with a third child on the way, he was going to have to work even harder. That unborn child heralded more labor and more suffering, not less. There seemed to be a transaction at work: the more he lost the happier Shan’ann became. The harder he had to work, and the more he had to pay, the happier Shan’ann became. All at his personal expense.

Returning to the level on which Chris Watts operated, once upon a time truckers would regularly arrive and convey oil product hither and thither.

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But Anadarko had recently developed a system known as Lease Automatic Custody Transfer units [LACT]. Let’s avoid getting bogged down in the technical details.  What LACT involves is an improved distribution system cutting out all the truck deployment and logistics. Instead of fleets of trucks running around, an operator like Chris Watts is sent to maintain the pipes and conduits that perform the same role. For more technical information on LACT follow this link.

Now let’s examine Anadarko’s own promotional material regarding their sites, but focusing specifically on Chris Watts’ role.

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The CERVI 319 site was monitored remotely, and this monitoring was automatic. Inspections on site could be done using Infra Red scanning devices. Was it Chris Watts’ job to find and fix methane leaks? A decomposing body produces methane, so if this was his role, wasn’t he in the perfect position to maintain access control to the decomposition process. Not only that, no one else would easily be able to get access to the site, or if they could, make any sense of it.

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The probes fitted into LACT units suggest that relatively small “contaminants” could be dealt with, and might not set off alarms.

The three illustrations below provide a rough idea of the structure of the oil tanks, with the third illustration the closest match to the faded tan ones found at CERVI 319.

The first illustration shows a movable ceiling and several venting orifices. If that’s a measuring sensor on the perimeter, it would also detect significant volume changes.


The staircase in this tank suggests that access is possible by technician within the tank to do maintenance. This means it may have been possible to get Shan’ann’s body in the tank after all, but not from the mushroom hatch. If it was possible to get Shan’ann’s body into the tanks, and Chris Watts chose not to, he had to have a good reason for it.

The tanks were in theory a much better place to get rid of a body – not only out of sight, but the tanks would contain the worsening cadaver smell as well.  Some have speculated that Chris Watts intended to dismember her body later, and then dump portions into the tank. This is a gruesome thought, but certainly possible.

He could also have waited for her remains to deteriorate and break down and then place sections of her rotting remains in the tank.


The illustration below shows a mushroom shaped vent, and then a larger vent fitted with an internal ladder.

AST Ladder Illustration Side View

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I’ve seen some folks speculating that Chris Watts didn’t dump Shan’ann into the tank because she was too heavy, or because he didn’t have enough time. By the time he reached the site it was still dark, and looking at the topography, there is no line of sight. The site is lower down compared to surrounding terrain.


Do you really think a hard-as-nails oil worker, a guy who has been jogging recently and lifting weights, a guy who does physical work for a living and went to the trouble of transporting remains tens of miles from home, wouldn’t use the drums if he could?

Dumping the body would also take far less time and effort than digging a hole, even a shallow hole.



Now let’s review more of the functions of an Anadarko operator. Note the highlighted text in the blue circles.

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The above confirms the idea of “field alerts” and alarms, which is why I’ve suggested in Two Face that the three foot doll, which was approximately the height of his young daughters, was used to test the displacement and whether the monitoring pick it up in the tanks by remote sensors.


Chris Watts job was to make sure globs of oil that were once forests or dinosaurs could break down and flow through pipes. His job was to facilitate the transformation of a natural resource into fuel, and money for the fuel.

When Shan’ann fell pregnant, his initial [private] reaction may well have been that if he could have things his way, he’d have the child aborted. If he could be unilateral, that would be his choice.  Shan’ann clearly wouldn’t go along with that, and by telling the world she was pregnant, took that “option” off the table. But what if he really didn’t want this child. What if he felt he really couldn’t look after it – he simply didn’t have the resources. If the thought started there, and then that the only way of unilaterally aborting the child was by killing Shan’ann, then eventually the family annihilation just became a natural [in his sick mind] means to that end. Bella and Celeste, and even Shan’ann in a sense, were just collateral damage in his efforts to make sure to have an abortion.

Wasn’t that what the murder of Caylee Anthony amounted to, just before she turned three? A lot abortion?

And once the die was cast, the idea of what to do with these bodies wasn’t so different from what he did every day for a living – replace, refurbish, recycle. Turn blood and bone into oil and money, and get the system operating optimally once more.

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Two Face is available on Amazon at this link.

15 thoughts on “Chris Watts: Inside the Oil Drum

  1. Interesting point of view. I see very clearly Shannan was not capable of respecting Chris Watts in any way. She had magical thinking, and Chris had to perfectly fit into it.
    A very immature 3rd pregnancy in the middle of a disastrous financial situation, the way Shannan converted their private lives into a reality show, the influence of the patches in the moods and metabolism, the pyramid company that requires surrendering their identity and merging it into a product, the lack of respect Chris received in his own house being treated as a marionette for the videos, …what could be wrong? Right?
    I would have been asfixiated. I would probably disappear and change my identity.
    But, still, those are not reasons to kill a family.
    People say he is a monster, I don’t think so. Sociopaths show features since they are children….killing pets, getting in trouble with the law, with school. I truly think that his act was monstrous due to a chemical caused by the patches. For example, my brother, mother and I get “manic” with B-12. We get irritable, have racing thoughts, and have “hallucinations” with vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is supposed to do the contrary on people, like helping them to relax, and cope with stress.
    If Chris had some kind of mental issue, I don’t think it is related to a personality disorder, but with developmental differences. The passiveness, the way he followed all the instructions passively that Shannan gives to him, is a little bit off. Also, the childish way he plays with the kids, and something in the body language…when his torso turns around to look back, some kind of miscoordination when walking could suggest a very light type of autism of Asperger. If he was autistic features, that means that he is in a higher risk of developing a very dangerous response to the chemicals of the patches.
    There is a very small difference between a person with Asperguer and a Sociopath – both have narcissistic traits, and they show emotions differently – with rare facial expressions. People mix the two often. The difference though is that Aspergers do feel remorse, and they are lousy liars.
    Chris Watts is a lousy liar.
    I would like to know how is he behaving, thinking and talking now without the chemical influence of the patches.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My catchall response is basically: this is like saying someone committed murder because they drank so many cups of coffee.

      I always find it immensely frustrating that folks want to find a disorder, or a chemical that explains the whole crime in the flick of a switch. It’s easy. He’s a narcissist. He’s a psychopath. He took X drug. How does any of that explain anything about the crime, or is the point that with the monster label we don’t have to, because nothing needs to make sense?

      Why have a court case or an investigation if we can just put our hands and say – but he’s a narcissist? Using that methodology, why not round up all the narcissists and throw them in jail before they do anything. They’re everywhere. They’re all over social media right now. If you’re a narcissist you’re about to be a murder – simple. Go to jail.

      But the world – fortunately – doesn’t work that way. The court wants to establish DOLUS – or intention. Intention is the opposite of some kind of automatic switch. It’s when a human being actually chooses to do evil. He contemplates it, weighs the options, and then executes it [perhaps even enjoys it].

      Yet we on the other side have a blank slate to begin with, so we think he does too. He doesn’t. He has a rich inner life just like we do. Dreams, desires and nightmares, just like we do.

      But there’s something here that’s not the same as what’s in our lives. Some aberration. What?

      The much more difficult issues to address are the real individuals involved and the real family dynamics. God forbid that one person actually had [in their minds] a very good reason to hate and want to destroy another person. Not like that ever happens in real life. So maybe what did it was an aspirin on a bad day…

      I will deal with the real pharma effects of Thrive patches in due course. There’s a lot of science-y stuff to go through, and a lot of garbage too, but at the end of the day it amounts to what I’ve said – trying to imagine someone went on a rampage because of an extra teaspoon of sugar in their coffee. Some might like to go with that, but there might be some other hard-to-get-to explanation that takes time to figure out, and fits the real story better, and resonates with other people in similar situations. And like it or not, that’s the story that’s heading to court this November.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. The topic of narcissism is being revisited since the 70’s and trending at this moment and it is becoming the standard explanation for everything that goes wrong.
        Human nature. The need to feel safe when things don’t make any sense.

        Liked by 2 people

    • My very first impression of CW after watching Shannan’s videos was that he was Aspergers. I continued to believe it when I heard about his excellent memory, and when watching him recite all the passwords for everything right off the top of his head during the interrogation video. I also noted the body language and the facial expressions (or lack of) right away. I am a EC teacher, and am trained to notice, but I’m not sure about how the Thrive patches would influence the severity of this condition (because I do not know for sure what is in them).


  2. I keep coming back to – something caused this bull to charge. I don’t mean he “snapped.” It was a build up. “Inside the Oil Drum” as this is titled, but Watts was inside the bell jar wasn’t he? I don’t think anyone really thinks Scott Peterson wanted to go off into the sunset with Amber Frey. Amber was a port in the storm. With Scott I don’t think he ever wanted to be married, for sure never wanted children. It was part of his image he put together for himself that he be married, to a vivacious beautiful woman who would be his partner – yet he still yearned to be James Bond. And have money be no object. With Chris what did he want? Really want? He had ambitions to be a Nascar pit crew member, but did he see marriage and children in his future? He went out of his way to be with Sha’nann despite her efforts to push him away she says. Why? So did she evolve into something he didn’t count on? Did he simply always want a quiet life where he could work on cars and be left alone?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting questions Pauline. Regarding Amber, yes what if this affair person was another port in the storm for Chris Watts but in a different way. I can’t believe this co-worker knew anything about the crime, she may only have known he was planning to separate. After watching so many videos of Shan’ann explaining how she got with Chris I don’t think it’s at all what it appears, the pushing him away, his pursuit of him. I think that is spin, a romantic ideal. Many women want to tell a tale of being pursued. I doubt he had the Game and the personality for that. I have no doubt they loved each other once but it’s hard to fathom when the rot set in.
      Second, this article is great.Best piece of research I have seen into the tanks and CW’s job role at Anadarko. Really helpful and clear visuals and diagrams. Great job Nick, again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This would certainly be what many Aspergers individual’s lives eventually come to; finding that they are happiest left alone to their own musings with little conflict.


  3. Pingback: Christopher Watts: What else do we know? [UPDATED] | #SHAKEDOWN

  4. Pingback: Christopher Watts: What else do we know? [UPDATED] | True Crime Rocket Science

  5. You say “In contrast to what he was doing, it had to feel like she was doing nothing, or that whatever she was doing, he was working hard the whole time and she was out having fun and spreading smiley faces on social media
    Now with a third child on the way, he was going to have to work even harder. That unborn child heralded more labor and more suffering, not less. There seemed to be a transaction at work: the more he lost the happier Shan’ann became. The harder he had to work, and the more he had to pay, the happier Shan’ann became. All at his personal expense.” That’s VICTIM BLAMING. Shannan was the mother of two little girls under the age of 5 – are you one of those ignorant men who assume that childcare is not ‘real work’?? Do you think all mothers who don’t work full-time sit around idly watching tv, internet shopping, getting their nails done, etc, all day every day?

    Also, you make out that Chris was hard done by and not well paid, yet they had a nice lifestyle, a big, nicely furnished home in a nice neighbourhood, nice cars, etc, so clearly they weren’t poverty stricken and scraping by like many people are. The reason he annihilated his family was because he was cheating on Shannan and wanted to live the life of a single man again without the ‘burden’ of a wife and children, because he knew that if they divorced he would have to pay child support, rtc, and because he’s ultimately a narcissistic psychopath/ sociopath.


    • “The reason he annihilated his family was because he was cheating on Shannan” > No, it’s not the reason. And please learn to spell the victim’s name correctly.


    • Nick was simply describing what CW MIGHT have been thinking. You appear to be perceiving these ideas subjectively, and that is not helpful in trying to understand why this man annihilated his family.


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  7. van der Leek,
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