What is a landman?

Posted on April 27, 2011

A term used in the United States and Canada, landman refers to a person who works for oil, gas, mineral, or other resource exploration outfits. Many industries in addition to the oil, gas, and mineral businesses require the services of a landman, including telecommunications, piping, transportation, and power companies.

A landman’s duties encompass many of the pre-development tasks that a company must perform before they can remove resources from a property or set up permanent collection operations, such as wind turbines or solar collection panels. The responsibilities of a landman might include negotiating for rights to a property, arranging agreements that allow for the exploration of resources, establishing ownership of land, reviewing land titles, and ensuring compliance to government and regional regulations. Certain industries require more specialized skills; for example a landman working for a wind power company might require expertise in determining site suitability for turbine installations.

While landmen do not require specialized degrees to work in the business, many companies prefer those with formal educations. Since the energy industry has experienced turbulent ups and downs of the energy industry in the last decades, few institutions of higher learning offer advanced education for landmen. Schools that do include The University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the Petroleum Landman Institute. Compensation as a landman varies, but factors that affect pay rates can include experience, lack or presence of formal education, and the region of the country.

Several contemporary figures have achieved small or large fortunes as landmen, among them Former President George W. Bush, billionaire T. Boone Pickens, and co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Chesapeake Energy Aubrey McClendon.

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