To ensure that a known or potential gas leak situation from an underground pipeline is addressed as safely as possible, there is an urgent need for monitoring and evaluating changes to gas leakage over time. However, this need is wrought with operational challenges related to the quality and quantity of leakage data stemming from a lack of data-driven, real-time control. This is especially relevant for situations where the leak cannot be resolved immediately or in areas of known leakage that require long term monitoring and evaluation. However, if we can better understand gas leakage behavior and environmental conditions over time while simultaneously incorporating this data near real-time into our decision-making, we can more efficiently and safely respond to such leaks and ultimately help prevent the occurrence of catastrophic gas migration incidents. This project will:

(1) develop an innovative real-time data network for methane detection and quantification of belowground leaks, and

(2) establish a recommended practice to deploy the gas sensing protocol while simultaneously ensuring that these protocols are widely applicable and accessible to end users.

This work will be accomplished by a combined team of the University of Texas at Arlington, Colorado State University, state agencies, and industry partners to include pipeline operators and service providers. Integral to this research is the exposure of undergraduate and graduate students to pipeline safety, ultimately cultivating new talent in the pipeline industry.


Develop, test and deploy a novel natural gas sensing protocol that provides operators with key critical knowledge on gas behavior over time.


Opportunities to Participate:

Interested in participating? There are several ways to get engaged in this project:
• Industry advisory Board (IAB) – The IAB is an opportunity for stakeholders of all types to be included in planning and steering the focus of controlled experiments.
• Controlled testing – Controlled testing at METEC will be performed. Contact us for information on how to participate.
• Field test sites – Operators may partner with us to test our methods at gas leakage sites. Contact for information on how to participate.


Cho, Y., Smits, K. M., Riddick, S. N., & Zimmerle, D. J. (2022). Calibration and field deployment of low-cost sensor network to monitor underground pipeline leakage. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 355, 131276.,

J. Lo*, K.M. Smits, Y. Cho, J. Duggan, S. Riddick, Quantifying Non-steady State Natural Gas Leakage from the Pipelines Using an Innovative Sensor Network and Model for Subsurface missions – InSENSE, in review

Project Gallery:

Funding Provided by:

Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA)

Competitive Academic Agreement Program PHMSA CAAP

Project Overview:

InSENSE Project Overview