18-08-2023 08:30

Field trip to Texas: Nordea in dialogue with oil and gas companies on emissions reduction

In the blistering heat of Texas, Nordea Asset Management went on a week-long field trip to Houston and the Permian Basin to engage 12 important oil and gas companies in reducing their methane emissions.
NAM at fieldtrip to Midland in Texas
During the trip in June, Nordea Asset Management went to Midland in the Permian Basin, which is the second largest oil and gas field in the world and one of the basins with the highest methane emissions. They visited Diamondback Energy’s headquarters and one of their facilities to better understand onshore unconventional oil and gas operations and to see first-hand their monitoring technology for methane detection. Photo: Fredrik Stedtjer.

For the minority of the Nordea Asset Management funds that may invest in the oil and gas industry, the tool of engagement can be used to get short-term wins for the climate. In Texas Nordea Asset Management visited its investee companies and the aim was to ask them to join the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 (OGMP 2.0) which was launched by the United Nations (UNEP) and partners. The OGMP 2.0 is recognised as the ’gold standard’ in methane measurement, reporting and target setting.

We met with Nordea’s Head of Responsible Investments, Eric Pedersen, and Director in Active Ownership, Renée Tengberg, to ask why Nordea chose to meet face-to-face with several industry giants in the middle of the summer:

It’s part of Nordea’s sustainability targets to reduce carbon emissions across our lending and investment portfolios to contribute to a more sustainable economy, but why is it needed to have a special focus on methane?

Renée Tengberg: “Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, estimated to account for as much as 25% of the global warming we’re experiencing today. It’s a short-lived climate pollutant that is 86 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, but it doesn’t stay in the atmosphere for as long as carbon dioxide does. This means that methane has not only had a huge impact on global warming to date, but also that reductions offer a critical near-term opportunity, as reductions achieved today will be felt in as little as 10 years.”

“Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas in the next decade is one of the most cost-effective forms of climate risk mitigation, since about 40% of human-caused methane emissions come from leaks from fossil fuel exploration, production and transportation.”

The team engaged with 12 investee companies during the week – Chesapeake Energy, Chevron, Coterra Energy, Denbury, Diamondback Energy, Enbridge, EOG Resources, Exxon Mobil, Hess Corporation, Occidental Petroleum, Kinder Morgan and Targa Resources.

Nordea has investee companies all over the world, what was the reason for choosing Texas as destination?

Eric Pedersen: “Direct engagement with the companies and industries, where we’re invested, is a cornerstone of our responsible investment strategy.  Field trips are one of the ways we practice active ownership, and we have, for example, previously also visited India to engage in pharmaceutical pollution and Brazil in the wake of the Brumadinho mining disaster. The oil and gas operations in Texas have some of the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world. In this case, we had been in dialogue with UNEP (the United Nations Environment Program) and a leading NGO, the Environmental Defense Fund, about our initiative to sign up companies for OGMP 2.0 and had been invited to speak at the Global Methane Mitigation Summit held in Houston, Texas in June. We took the opportunity to combine this with engagement meetings with relevant investee companies.”

“The trip to Texas is an example of how we work with thematic engagements. This type of engagement concentrates on one or several of our four focus areas; biodiversity, climate, good governance and human rights. The discussions in the US this time were related to climate impact. Action on methane is a way to get important, real-world climate contributions, even from oil and gas companies that generally do not have a concrete strategy to align with the Paris Agreement.”     

“It’s not a situation where we can fly in and change the whole industry overnight, so it’s important that we bring something to the table that the companies find useful as the basis for constructive dialogue. We also work with a lot of different partners to get more weight behind our demands, and although this methane engagement initiative was initiated by Nordea Asset Management, we’re collaborating with the largest asset manager in Europe, Amundi, and a group of large asset owners (pension funds etc.). The collaborating investors have nearly EUR 3 trillion in assets under management and we’re using our collective weight to make an impact.”

Field trips have traditionally been part of our toolbox, but were on hold during the pandemic. Now they are possible again and it gives us a chance to see the operations and the companies’ ESG practices first-hand.

Renée Lea Tengberg from the Active Ownership team is leading Nordea Asset Management’s engagement on methane.

You met up with 12 companies in total, has there been any direct outcome of the dialogues yet?

Renée Tengberg: “Three of the companies in the methane engagement – Petrobras, Diamondback Energy and EOG Resources – have joined the OGMP 2.0 during 2023, so that’s a few early wins under our belt. It can potentially take a year or more for companies to work through the changes they need to make to join the programme, so trips such as the one to Texas are a unique opportunity for intensive face-to-face meetings with key decision-makers and specialists.”

“Field trips have traditionally been part of our toolbox, but were on hold during the pandemic. Now they are possible again and it gives us a chance to see the operations and the companies’ ESG practices first-hand. Three of us also participated as speakers at the Global Methane Mitigation Summit, discussing best practices and spelling out investor expectations on methane with more than 300+ oil and gas leaders. And finally, we organised an information-sharing workshop for new companies actively considering OGMP 2.0 membership, which is a way to make a direct impact. Initial feedback from Texas is encouraging and we continue to follow up.”

Eric Pedersen: “It’s important to understand that a thematic engagement is not a one-off activity. It spans several years and this one started in 2022 where we started collaborating with selected partners and clients. During the second half of 2022 and during 2023 – before we went to Texas – we had already had meetings on OGMP 2.0 with Aker BP, Diamondback Energy, Enerplus, EOG Resources, Equinor, INPEX, Ovintiv, Petrobras, Pioneer Natural Resources, OMV, Xcel Energy and YPF. Although we still see gaps in the maturity of the companies in tackling methane emissions, we’re also seeing progress. Many of the companies are taking action to reduce their methane emissions and are in dialogue with the OGMP 2.0 on membership.”  

Investor clients and partners in the engagement


  • Amundi


  • PenSam
  • Sampension


  • The State Pension Fund of Finland
  • ELO Mutual Pension Insurance Company
  • Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company


  • AP7


  • Grieg Investor
  • Church of Norway National Council
  • Save the Children, Norway
  • The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue

United Kingdom

  • Brunel Pension Partnership

United States

  • California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)
Active ownership