Landman (oil Worker) - Characteristics


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, mining, pipeline, power and transportation are just a few of the other industries that frequently engage the landman's services. The terms "landman" and "right of way agent" are often used interchangeably; however, their duties often vary significantly.

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.

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