Petroleum Landman  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotPetroleum landmen are people who acquire the subsurface mineral rights from landowners for the purposes of oil and gas exploration. That means they make sure their company owns the minerals it will find in the ground. They work for petroleum exploration companies like Exxon.

Workdays are never dull. A landman must research the property to determine the owner of the mineral rights. "Sometimes, there can be literally hundreds of people who have rights to a percentage of the ownership of a piece of land," says Jeff Myers. He is a petroleum landman.

Once the owner is located, the landman must negotiate the rights to the land. This may include buying the land outright or leasing the land from the owner.

dotIt is important that a landman have very good interpersonal skills. "The role requires a landman to interact with individuals within the company as well as with people in and outside of the industry. Often, the landman is the first person that a mineral or surface title owner or an industry partner meets," says landman Gary Montgomery.

"That first impression is often an impression of the company as a whole."

dotLandmen often have to travel to meet with the owners of a set of mineral rights. The rest of the time, landmen usually work from an office. They spend a great deal of time completing the paperwork that accompanies the job.

"The amount of paperwork that must be done for each job really depends on how complex the ownership of the mineral rights are," explains landman Debbie Langley.

"Occasionally, you run into a job where there are hundreds of owners to be dealt with. At times like that, you're thankful for computers because they make the work a little easier."

At a Glance

Get the rights to the minerals underneath a piece of land

  • The American Association of Professional Landmen has between 6,600 and 6,800 members
  • Be prepared to travel frequently
  • Get a bachelor's degree in psychology, economics, commerce, geography or sociology