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Oil & Gas 101: The Many Roles of a Landman

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What Does a Landman Do?

Landman refers to a role in oil and gas with responsibilities including researching property titles, maintaining leases and auditing.

Anyone becoming acquainted with the business side of the oil and gas industry will no doubt encounter references to the job title called “landman,” which is short for “land management professional” and is not indicative of gender.

There are many landman responsibilities across the spectrum of domestic oil and gas production in the United States.

Researching Property Ownership and Titles

First, a landman must research local county property records to determine the mineral ownership for tracts of land in which an oil and gas company wants to lease the drilling rights. Once, this is accomplished, a landman is needed to actually lease up those mineral rights.

Often, additional documentation will be needed to prove that a property owner actually has clear title to the land they have leased out. A landman is needed to perform title curative by obtaining the documentation required by a title opinion lawyer who has reviewed the title. Landmen are also often sent to local county courthouses to research property ownership to augment a company’s in-house records.

Maintaining Leases

Once an oil and gas lease is taken and title is clear, the landman’s role is now primarily in-house at the oil company owning the leases. It is the in-house landman’s responsibility to identify drilling locations and enter agreements with other companies that are needed to finance exploration and production activities.

Landmen must also work other departments within their company to ensure that leases are maintained by properly paying royalties to mineral owners.

Auditing and Reporting

Landmen assist in the acquisition and divestiture of oil and gas assets between companies. They also audit records to report acreage to investors under Sarbanes-Oxley rules.

Summary for Oil Investors

The role of the landman spans every stage of the domestic exploration and production industry and the position must be filled in order to engage in any oil and gas leasehold transaction or to drill new wells in the continental US.

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