Mines Responsible Gas Initiative

The Responsible Gas Initiative Exists to Help Better Understand the Challenges and Opportunities Related to the Future of Natural Gas in a Low-Carbon Economy.  We Work with Partners to Define the Prospects for Responsibly Sourced Gas, Using Empirical, Credible Data and Independent Certification.

The Challenge

• With shale gas fundamentally altering the shape of the American energy market and natural gas being promoted as the bridge to a low-carbon future, it’s a valuable energy source that can play an important role in the future energy mix. Natural gas use has helped lower carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity generation in recent years, but methane emissions related to the production of natural gas have offset some of those benefits.
• Regulators, Investors and customers are placing increased pressure on the natural gas industry to do more to address climate issues and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations.
• Some states have created more stringent regulations directed at methane and are starting to limit gas flaring and venting as they try to regulate the oil and gas industry, but those efforts are hampered by a lack of robust emissions data.

  • Companies are also implementing aggressive goals for emission reduction, yet communities, capital markets, and regulators are often critical of their efforts due to a lack of empirical evidence of their progress.
  • Despite emission reduction efforts, and emphasis by investors on ESG, the market has not yet acknowledged the difference between gas producing environments. The differentiation of “responsible gas” from traditional production methods has an important role to play in creating market incentives and a net-zero energy future.
  • Until methane emissions are fully measured, monitored, controlled and reduced, the position of natural gas as a greener substitute for coal and oil, which is a large part of its appeal, is open to serious debate.

The Opportunity

  • The Continuous Monitoring Program, a partnership with the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines and emissions monitoring company Project Canary, provides an independent third-party review of data collected from oil and gas locations of participating companies. Using engagement with industry and Mines nuanced understanding of the oil and gas industry, the collaboration supports effective monitoring of emissions related to natural gas.
  • The program calls for the integration of monitoring from satellites, aircraft, drones and continuous monitoring in the field, to help identify and locate events, quickly alert operators to begin maintenance and repair, quantify emissions and help regulators and communities report and visualize relevant data.
  • Storing operator and monitoring data at The Payne Institute, separate from the operator itself, so that the monitoring data is not just being self-reported by the companies, creating trusted data by an honest broker third party.
  • “Measure what Matters” Stakeholders throughout the energy industry value chain want to make environmentally sound decisions, but often lack the data necessary for effective emission reduction. New regulations will focus on gathering data and increasing reporting requirements for operations, aimed at finding sources of gas emissions at every stage of the industry. Venting and flaring, typically routine actions in the industry, as well as leaks of faulty equipment, are all important sources to measure and monitor. The data gathered through the Continuous Monitoring Program should help operators to develop steps to minimize methane emissions and maximize natural gas production and sales.
  • Through a commitment to reducing unnecessary flaring, investing in emissions monitoring technology and demonstrating that operations are maintained at the highest level of compliance with best practice standards, operators will seek to certify their natural gas product as “responsible gas” with a lower CO2e footprint and environmental impact.
  • Market incentives integrated with practical regulations and improved emissions data will enable the “Responsible Gas” market to develop, and create valuable opportunities for all impacted stakeholders.

The Colorado School of Mines Empirical Approach



On-Location Sensors


Data Management

Independent Data Repository
Real-time Data Transfer
Data Security



Machine Learning
Statistical Methods

Responsible Gas Initiative Pillars




Graduate Curriculum
Student Recruitment
Professional Development


Linda Battalora
Teaching Professor, Petroleum Engineering

William Daniels
Payne Institute Research Associate
MS Statistics

Tzahi Y. Cath
Ben L. Fryrear Professor 
Civil and Environmental Engineering

James Crompton
Professor of Practice, Petroleum Engineering

Ben Gilbert
Assistant Professor, Economics and Business

Dorit Hammerling
Associate Professor, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Alina Handorean
Teaching Associate Professor, Engineering, Design, & Society

Qi Han
Professor, Computer Science

Responsible Gas NEWS

Gas Flaring Declined in 2020, Study Finds 5/10/2021

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group provided the satellite data research analysis for the recently released World Bank Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report in April 2021.  According to the GGFR, gas flaring worldwide decreased by 5 percent in the pandemic year, mostly because of lower demand for oil. May 10, 2021.

Colonial Pipeline hack reveals critical infrastructure risks 5/10/2021

Colonial Pipeline hack reveals critical infrastructure risks

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian discusses big industrial networks, including the Colonial Pipeline, which has been down for three days following a cyberbreach, that fill vital everyday needs such as gasoline, clean water and electricity on a podcast with Scott Tong. The Joe Biden administration plans new cyber rules for agencies and contractors involved in critical infrastructure.  May 10, 2021.

The U.S. Government Can Accelerate Investment Managers’ Contribution to Global Carbon Emissions Reduction 5/4/2021

The U.S. Government Can Accelerate Investment Managers’ Contribution to Global Carbon Emissions Reduction

Payne Institute Researcher Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how climate change has emerged as arguably the single most important driver for long-term investment performance. Broad swaths of the economy are currently impacted by the physical risks of climate change (e.g. from extreme weather), and transitional risks to lower-carbon sources of energy. May 4, 2021.

Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) 4/28/2021

Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR)

The World Bank with research support from the Payne Institute Earth Observation Group released their world gas flaring overview. GGFR has now published estimates from satellite data, which show that global gas flaring declined by 5% in 2020. Oil production dropped from 82 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2019 to 76 million b/d in 2020, as global gas flaring reduced from 150 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2019 to 142 bcm.  April 28, 2021.

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 edition 4/20/2021

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 edition

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to the World Economic Forum‘s Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2021 report on how as countries continue their progress in transitioning to clean energy, it is critical to root the transition in economic, political and social practices to ensure progress is irreversible. The Energy Transition Index, which benchmarks 115 countries on the performance of their energy systems, finds that while 92 of the countries increased their score over the past 10 years, only 10% of countries were able to make consistent gains, showing the need for renewed focus and resilience to meet the climate goals of the next decade. April 20, 2021.

The Climate Debates: Can America Break Its Natural Gas Addiction? 4/16/2021

The Climate Debates: Can America Break Its Natural Gas Addiction?

Payne Institute Fellow Arvind Ravikumar participates in this discussion about how to wean the U.S. off of natural gas.  As more and more people have come to understand the urgency of the climate crisis in recent years, and Americans have elected a president in Joe Biden who has pledged to make addressing climate the centerpiece of his administration, but there is much debate about exactly how we should go about confronting our collective climate challenge.  April 16, 2021.

Jared Carbone gives testimony to Colorado State House Energy and Environment Committee 4/8/2021

Jared Carbone gives testimony to Colorado State House Energy and Environment Committee

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jared Carbone gave testimony to the Colorado State House Energy and Environment Committee on House bill HB21-1238. If passed, the bill would direct the PUC to take the social cost of carbon and methane emissions into account in developing demand-side management programs to reduce the use of natural gas in residential and commercial spaces. Dr. Carbone explained what the social cost of carbon is and why it’s appropriate to take into account in the bill.  Testimony starts at 2:54.  April 8, 2021.

How the US can stimulate private investment in cutting carbon 4/7/2021

How the US can stimulate private investment in cutting carbon

Payne Institute Fellow Brad Handler, with Fellow Ben Caldecott and Director Morgan Bazilian, writes about how conventional wisdom has it that US president Joe Biden can effect only modest progress on climate change legislation because of the Democrats’ razor-thin Senate margin. But this undervalues the levers the administration can pull, including motivating the private sector.  April 7, 2021.  

Project Canary Receives Series A Funding from Leading Venture Capital Firms 4/6/2021

Project Canary Receives Series A Funding from Leading Venture Capital Firms

Payne Institute is a proud partner on gas flaring emissions monitoring with Project Canary, who received investments from Quantum Energy Partners, Global Reserve Group and Energy Impact Partners to fund the Denver-based emissions monitoring and data startup, as the ESG-driven market for Responsibly Sourced Gas grows.  April 6, 2021.

For more information about the Responsible Gas Initiative at the Colorado School of Mines, please contact our Strategy and Operations Manager, Gregory Clough, at gclough@mines.edu.