Landman (oil worker)
In the United States and Canada, a landman or "petroleum landman" is an individual who performs various services for oil and gas exploration companies. According to the website of the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL), these services include: negotiating for the acquisition or divestiture of mineral rights; negotiating business agreements that provide for the exploration for and/or development of minerals; determining ownership in minerals through the research of public and private records; reviewing the status of title, curing title defects and otherwise reducing title risk associated with ownership in minerals; managing rights and/or obligations derived from ownership of interests in minerals; and unitizing or pooling of interests in minerals.
Since the services provided by the landman to the oil and gas exploration industry and other industries are so varied it is not uncommon for a landman to specialize in certain aspects of the profession that require specific knowledge, such as title and lease negotiations and acquisition, onshore/offshore contracts, rights-of-way and surface land management, federal lands, and numerous other areas. The term "landman" and nuances thereof also apply to women who practice the land management profession although a larger majority of practitioners continue to be men.
Numerous other industries, in addition to the petroleum industry, often require the skills and expertise of the landman, one of which is the wind industry. Wind development requires the locating of surface sites for turbines, determining surface ownership, negotiating lease agreements, and has many other similar duties performed by the petroleum landman. Telecommunications, pipeline, power and transportation projects, linear in nature, are generally Right-of-Way (ROW) projects and usually staffed by ROW Agents. The terms "landman" and "Right-of-Way agent" are often used interchangeably; however, their duties often vary significantly. Landmen typically deal with site specific projects (drill site) and leases, whereas ROW Agents deal with linear corridor projects that can cross interstate and usually involve easement conveyance.
A particular degree is often not required of someone interested in becoming a landman, though it is favored. Few universities offer a petroleum land management degree but The University of Oklahoma, The University of Tulsa, the University of Louisiana Lafayette, Texas Tech University and University of Calgary are among those that do. The first and largest petroleum land management program was created in 1958 at the University of Oklahoma. It has since been re-branded as the "Energy Management Program". The AACSB International Southwestern Business Deans Association honored the program with The Most Innovative in Excellence Award for Curriculum Design.
Compensation and/or salary varies and is dependent on many factors such as experience, geographic location and the number of qualified landmen available in a given area. Many lawyers are practicing landmen and landmen/oil and gas attorneys. Due to the collapse in energy prices in the late 1980s which lasted for nearly two decades, in the early 2000s, most landmen who survived were retiring and most universities and colleges that offered petroleum land management degrees no longer did so. The resulting attrition combined with the spike in energy prices in the mid-2000s reversed the trends of earlier years and created a significant shortage of available landmen. The subsequent global financial collapse in the late 2000s once again reversed the boom and employment opportunities will likely continue their cyclical nature for years to come.
American Association of Professional Landmen
The American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) offers certifications recognized throughout the industry as indicators of competency, proficiency and professionalism, AAPL offers three certifications that are proven to enhance a member’s credibility in the industry and to increase earning potential for landmen.
Certified Professional Landman (CPL) – The highest designation offered in the energy management industry, CPL certification is the standard by which landmen demonstrate their comprehensive competence, proficiency and professionalism in the landman field. This certification level requires the applicant to be sponsored by three CPL certified individuals and complete a comprehensive proctored test, in addition to various experiential requirements and a fee.
Registered Professional Landman (RPL) – The mid-level designation offered by AAPL, RPL certification distinguishes a landman as knowledgeable, experienced and professional. This certification level requires the applicant to be sponsored by three CPL certified individuals and complete a comprehensive proctored test, in addition to various experiential requirements and a fee.
Registered Landman (RL) – The initial level of certification, RL certification signifies a fundamental knowledge of the land industry as well as a landman’s commitment to furthering their education. This certification level requires the applicant to be sponsored by one RPL and complete a "take home" test with a passing grade, in addition to various experiential requirements and a fee.
Individuals who began their career or worked as a landman include:
- George W. Bush, the former United States president
- Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy
- The father of the oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens
- Tom L. Ward, CEO of SandRidge Energy
One of the best known fictional landmen was John Brewster, played by the actor Frank Wilcox, on the television show The Beverly Hillbillies in the early 1960s. He was a landman for "The Tulsa Oil Company" who secured the lease for Jed Clampett's acreage and later got Jed to serve on its board of directors.
- AAPL website
- University of Oklahoma - College of Business: BBA In Energy Management
- Young, Randy. "Landman". LandmanInsider. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
- "AAPL - America's Landmen".
- Houston Association of Professional Landmen
- Wyoming Association of Professional Landmen
- Los Angeles Association of Professional Landmen
- Oklahoma City Association of Professional Landmen
- Nevada Professional Landmen's Association
- Montana Association of Professional Landmen
- U.S. Bureau of Land Management
- The University of Oklahoma: Price College: Energy Management