Unconventional Natural Gas Institute

Colorado School of Mines

ExxonMobil and GE Join University Initiative to Help Bring Latest Natural Gas Best Practices to Shale Development

Colorado School of Mines, Penn State University and the University of Texas at Austin announced a new training initiative on March 8, 2012 to support the rapidly growing shale natural gas and oil development sector. The training programs created under the initiative will be led by the faculty at each academic institution and are designed to ensure that regulators and policymakers have access to the latest technology and operational expertise to assist in their important oversight of shale development.

ExxonMobil and GE, two of America's leading energy corporations, today announced they would each contribute $1 million to this new educational initiative. Colorado School of Mines President M.W. Scoggins said, "Colorado School of Mines' focused mission to educate the next generation of engineers and applied scientists fosters a natural partnership in this consortium. Our specialized curriculum and research program centered on responsible resource development is helping to enhance global understanding of our most pressing earth, energy and environmental challenges."

Added Colorado School of Mines' Dr. Azra N. Tutuncu, who is director of the school's Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute (UNGI) and Harry D. Campbell Chair in Petroleum Engineering, "The Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute at Colorado School of Mines provides training for developing unconventional resources in an environmentally sound, safe and economically viable manner - the oil and gas industry as well as state and federal regulators and policymakers benefit from this expertise." "America's shale energy resources are creating jobs and economic growth in regions across the country, and Americans rightly want to know that these resources are being produced safely and responsibly," ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said. "ExxonMobil is pleased to provide the resources to assist the schools in equipping regulators with the latest technical and operational knowledge being applied in this growing sector."

GE CEO Jeff Immelt said, "Natural gas is dramatically changing the way we power America, and GE is committed to its responsible development. We believe advanced technology, an expert workforce and smart regulation are the keys to America leading the world in shale gas development. As a technology leader in the energy sector, GE recognizes the importance of minimizing a site's environmental footprint while simultaneously increasing operational efficiency."

To find out more about this training program, you may contact Dr. Azra N. Tutuncu at atutuncu@mines.edu

TOPCORP Training Program Receives $125,000 Grant from Environmental Defense Fund

July 15, 2015 - Golden, Colorado

TOPCORP is pleased to announce partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) for the regulators and policy makers training program. A grant in the amount of $125,000 has been received for the use of assuring TOPCORP training program remains available to state inspectors and regulators at no cost to their agencies.

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) is one of the world's largest environmental organizations, with more than one million members and a staff of 500 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the globe.

Working with the state regulatory agencies and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, the training program was developed jointly by Colorado School of Mines, Penn State University and University of Texas at Austin in the TOPCORP consortium. Currently, the target audience is regulators with less than 18 months of on-the-job or other relevant experience. More experienced regulators and policy makers are also welcome to the program.

"Oil and gas inspectors need to be prepared to meet the challenges presented by the complexity and scale of industry operations," said Scott Anderson, senior policy director for EDF. "Effective training will equip inspectors to enforce the regulations that protect our environment. That's why programs like TOPCORP are so important."

Dr. Azra N. Tutuncu, director of the Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute and director of the TOPCORP effort at Colorado School of Mines welcomed the EDF sponsorship. "The novel and incremental technology developments are being implemented rapidly in the field for economic viability of the operations. We aim to provide the latest technology implementations along with the science and engineering concepts behind these operations to the regulators and policy makers with the TOPCORP Training. In order to reach out to a larger audience in the oil and gas producing states, we would like to have sponsors like EDF to join our inaugural sponsors ExxonMobil and GE Oil & Gas. The three universities would like to thank the Environmental Defense Fund for their partnership and support for regulatory improvements throughout the United States through our TOPCORP Training Program."

For more information about the TOPCORP Training Consortium, please visit our UNGI Training website ungi.mines.edu and topenergytraining.com or contact Professor Azra N. Tutuncu, at Colorado School of Mines Petroleum Engineering Department and UNGI, (303) 273-3747, atutuncu@mines.edu.


UNGI encourages and supports multidisciplinary research in every area of unconventional natural gas and oil exploration and development. By encompassing relevant disciplines and bringing together world-class researchers and organizations seeking solutions to complex problems, the institute fosters and stimulates understanding of this emerging resource. UNGI encourages active member involvement to quickly bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and practical engineering applications. Through education and outreach, the institute furthers understanding of worldwide unconventional natural gas and oil resources and the importance of these resources to today's energy concerns.

Right Place

Mines is the ideal institution to lead innovative developments in this vital energy arena. UNGI draws from Mines' unique, specialized, interdisciplinary expertise in all areas of upstream natural gas research. Mines' resources include a variety of centers and consortia that support UNGI and its research.

Right Time

UNGI conducts research in all areas of unconventional natural gas and oil exploration and development. The institute works quickly toward practical applications so the world can benefit from an energy source that is:

Abundant | Clean-burning | Economical

“The Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute at the Colorado School of Mines will aid in technical development and technology transfer for unconventional gas sources, which domestically are estimated to contain trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.”

—The New York Times

© 2017 UNGI. Comments or inputs, please contact Binh Bui