Leak Notifications at Oil and Gas Facilities in Colorado

Last registered on March 10, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Leak Notifications at Oil and Gas Facilities in Colorado
Initial registration date
March 08, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 10, 2022, 9:00 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

University of Chicago

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of Warwick
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In 2014, Colorado introduced regulations requiring oil and gas companies to identify and to fix methane leaks, and to install equipment to limit or prevent emissions. Yet firms and regulators might be unable to comprehensively monitor these emissions, and still rely on infrequent and expensive on-site facility inspections to detect leaks. This study plans to leverage remote sensing technology to test the effectiveness of emissions information-sharing on reducing methane emissions.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Covert, Thomas et al. 2022. "Leak Notifications at Oil and Gas Facilities in Colorado." AEA RCT Registry. March 10. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9071-1.0
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome of the experiment is a measure of methane emissions that can reasonably be attributed to an oil and gas facility based on meteorological conditions from a remote sensing gas analyzer, as well as binary indicators of emissions found at a facility from regulatory inspections.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The aim of this experiment is to determine whether notifications to oil and gas operators regarding emissions detected at facilities under their purview reduce facility-level emissions levels. Emissions at facilities will be measured using remote sensing technology.
Experimental Design Details
The RCT will be conducted among upstream oil and gas facilities in Colorado that are eligible for inspection by CDPHE in IY2022. Each of these facilities has been placed into "high-risk" and “low-risk” groups based on their emissions risk scores as predicted by a machine learning model. For each operator, all facilities with a score below the operator’s median score (“low-risk” facilities) will be eligible for randomization.
Randomization Method
Randomization will be completed in an office using a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomization will be completed at the facility-level.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
subset of low-risk facilities with observed emissions
Sample size: planned number of observations
the number of observations cannot be known ex-ante and will depend on the number of emissions events observed. Preliminary estimates indicate a minimum sample size of 60.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
half in treatment, half in control. If the sample size is an odd number, the last facility will be assigned to treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Chicago Social and Behavioral Sciences IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials