Landmen are responsible for facilitating leases between oil and gas companies and mineral owners. A landman frequently travels the country to pursue lease opportunities in regions of interest to his or her firm or client, and must often conduct extensive research to secure the right to drill in a particular area. After an oil company identifies a promising location, the landman begins the negotiations process by researching the ownership of the land in question. This process can involve searching public records, visiting courthouses, and even going to the homes or workplaces of the identified landowners. If the land is owned by multiple parties, the landman will also need to locate and speak to each individual holding a percentage of ownership.
Often serving as a mineral owner’s first impression of the oil and gas company, landmen draw on refined communication skills to negotiate the ownership of a piece of land. After coming to an agreement regarding the lease or purchase of a property’s mineral rights, landowners are responsible for legally documenting the negotiation. The process involves creating or updating lease agreements, as well as other land management documents, including rental receipts, leasing reports, and title documents.
In 2015, CNN Money and PayScale ranked the landman role third in their list of the top 100 jobs in America, projecting job growth of 13 percent over the next decade. At a minimum, landmen possess paralegal certification or an associate degree in land management. However, they may increase their marketability with a bachelor’s in land management, geology, economics, or another related field, and may choose to supplement a four-year degree with a certificate in land management. Some landmen may also have an academic background in law.