What Is the Role of a Landman in the Oil and Gas Industry?

A landman plays an integral role in oil and gas commerce. Learn about their many different responsibilities in this guide.

In 2010, the AAPL (The American Association for Professional Landmen) conducted a compensation study, detailing the average salaries of landmen. With a range of 90,000 to 150,000 and counting, it’s safe to say that these professionals can earn a pretty hefty salary.

Even landmen with only a high school diploma earned an average of $90,000 for that year. Landmen with PhDs, however, earned an average salary of $152,000. Because of the expertise and knowledge required for the job, a landman salary can be even higher.

But what does a landman do? Essentially, a landman is the middleman between stakeholders and landowners. Typically, they work on behalf of an oil company to buy and acquire rights to the minerals of the land.

That being said, a landman’s job requires much more than just that. Keep reading to uncover the many duties and responsibilities of a landman in the oil and gas industry.

They’ve Been Called Other Things

While the term is fairly outdated, landmen have also been referred to as lease hounds or lease brokers in the past.

In Canada, landmen keep the same title. In other countries and parts of the world where landmen are working in the petroleum industry, landmen are referred to as petroleum negotiators.

What Does a Landman Do?

Landmen have a multitude of responsibility in their jobs. As negotiators that work on behalf of oil companies, they must be great salesmen. During their journeys to assess and acquire rights to natural resources, they have to be confident and be able to negotiate successfully.

Landmen are responsible for all paperwork pertaining to agreements that are made. This paperwork can be leases, joint ventures, rights-of-way, and other gas and oil agreements.

Landmen perform in-house title gathering, perform internal updates on those titles, and are in charge of all documentation pertaining to rights information.

At different times, landmen may also perform administrative tasks or assist the operations and drilling land staff.

Some landmen also work alongside the geological development team for a particular location.

Landmen have to prepare and then present reports to upper management and stakeholders with regard to the status of rights acquisition.

Landmen are also land managers and property managers. They are responsible for preparing lease agreements and tracking and recording rental receipts. They also prepare and execute specialized lease documents, when needed.

They must develop and grow their knowledge on a wide variety of land transactions including farm-outs, farm-ins, and many others.

Who Do Landmen Work For?

Landmen work for gas and oil exploration companies. They are researchers, salespeople, and experts in the field. They also provide administrative and supervisory roles while in-house.

All sorts of companies hire landmen from gas to water companies. They can be employed by a particular company to do numerous jobs or a landman may be hired as an independent contractor.

Lease negotiations can be complicated as can determining land rights. For instance, land rights are not always the same as mineral rights for that particular bit of land. Thus, landmen must have knowledge of many legal concepts such as bonus per mineral acre, payment per rod, plow depth clause, and percentage of royalty.

During a particular project, a landman may be called upon for almost anything. They perform many different tasks, from administering lease payments to repairing equipment malfunctions.

How Does Someone Become a Landman?

A landman plays an essential role in the legal procurement of mineral rights and the development of leases. Thus, obtaining a petroleum land management degree from an accredited university is critical for the role.

Hands-on experience is also crucial and can be done in conjunction with one’s studies. Interning or shadowing another landman is the best way to learn the ins and outs of the job.

Because there are so many legal terms and paperwork involved in the landman profession, a landman might get their start by working in a legal profession.

Correct grammar, spelling, and composition in reports are a must-have for landmen. Because they are dealing with complicated lease terms, title chains, and other specific forms, mistakes are not an option. 

A landman plays a critical role in acting as the liaison between a landowner and an exploration company. She or he must be an expert in the industry, the land and its minerals, the legalities, and the rights between ownership and management.

What Will Happen to the Role of a Landman?

The job of a landman is considered to be one of the top jobs of today, with a 7% 10-year growth rate. In fact, statistics show that the number of jobs in the oil and gas industry will increase by 18% over the next few years.

The buck doesn’t stop there. Because there are so many forms of renewable energy, jobs for landmen will continue to exist in many different energy sectors. There are, and will be, many job options in the future pertaining to wind, water, solar, and other energy sources.

Landmen Play Significant Roles in the Oil and Gas Industry

Because the role of a landman requires such expertise and knowledge, a degree is surely the best way to get a career as a landman started. Because a landman is the go-to contact between a landowner and an energy company, their ability to communicate is of the utmost importance.

Landmen don’t just have to work in the gas and oil sector. With the world’s exploration of so many diverse forms of energy, a landman’s job is here to stay, now and in the future.