Some big oil and gas producers are collaborating in a unique initiative sponsored by the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA).

The new partnership comes just after Gov. John Hickenlooper’s drilling task force has been working on ways to eliminate issues between producers and those opposed to drilling in the state (see Shale Daily, Sept. 9),

CCIA, which is sponsoring an oil and gas clean tech challenge on Oct. 2, is partnering with Colorado-based units of ConocoPhillips, Noble Energy Inc. and Encana Corp. The forum’s aim is to help identify “new technologies to make energy development safer, more environmentally responsible and cleaner.”

Following a national call for proposals this summer, Noble, Encana and ConocoPhillips representatives selected 12 companies that have the opportunity to make the case for their technologies before industry executives at the forum.

Meanwhile, state political leaders are still trying to work through some of the unrest caused by the industry’s expanded exploration and production (E&P) work since Hickenlooper crafted a compromise in early August to avoid ballot initiatives this fall.

Wells Fargo Securities LLC analysts earlier this month noted speculation about an anti-industry movement resurfacing closer to the 2016 general elections, regardless of the governor’s ongoing efforts.

Wells Fargo’s analysis cited a presentation by an Encana executive that estimated that 20% of the Colorado electorate is fully supportive of oil and gas development and another 20% is adamantly opposed to it, leaving a broad 60% of the populous that can be swayed.

The analysis said “anti-industry movements [in selected local communities] had been very successful on several occasions by striking emotional chords with those in the 60%, making constructive and informative conversation somewhat difficult.”

ConocoPhillips’ Dave Heskin, technology and projects manager, said he intended to work with CCIA as a founding supporter of the upcoming challenge because it reinforces the company’s “commitment to economic growth and a healthy environment.”