What is a Landman?

 

When it comes to selling mineral rights, one person you will likely be dealing with is a landman. A landman/landwork is defined by the American Association of Professional Landmen (“AAPL”) the following way:

  • “Landwork” shall mean the actual performance or supervision of any one or more of the following functions:
    A. Negotiating for the acquisition or divestiture of mineral rights.
    B. Negotiating business agreements that provide for the exploration for and/or development of minerals.
    C. Determining ownership in minerals through the research of public and private records.
    D. Reviewing the status of title, curing title defects, providing title due diligence and otherwise reducing title risk associated with
    ownership in minerals or the acquisition and divestiture of mineral properties, but shall not include division order or lease analyst
    functions.
    E. Managing rights and/or obligations derived from ownership of interests in minerals.
    F. Unitizing or pooling of interests in minerals.
  • “Land Professional” shall mean a person who derives a significant portion of his income as a result of performing Landwork.
  • “Landman” shall mean a Land Professional who is primarily engaged in Landwork.

who negotiates the mineral rights deal in behalf of an oil or gas company.

 

In the past, a landman was referred to as a leasehound but this title has become obsolete. There are predominately two types of landmen in the oil and gas industry:  

  • A field landman: this type of landman works closely with the in-house land man and also directly with land owners. A field landman is usually an independent contractor who researches and drafts documents, typically using the county courthouse where the land is located. The field landmass performs title searches to make sure the title is clear and makes sure every step of the negotiation process follows the appropriate compliance. The field landman is also works with title attorneys who may be reviewing title for the company that plans to drill a well or purchase mineral rights.
  • An in-house landman: typically an in-house landman is an employee of the oil and gas company, working in their land department. The in-house landman is usually involved in negotiations and/or trades with land owners or other companies, manages the rig schedules, and works to make sure the relationship between the mineral owners and the oil and gas companies is cohesive. They also participate in hearings and assist in due diligence.  

 

Because the buying and selling minerals rights can be so complex, hiring a professional and reputable landman is vital. Several things to inquire with the landman you are dealing with may be:

  • Is he/she member in good standing with the AAPL
  • How long as he/she been a landman and what regions have they worked
  • Does he/she hold any certification with the AAPL
  • Is he/she a member of the local landman organization

 

A good landman will be punctual, knowledgeable, thorough and accurate. Also

important is to make sure the landman keeps matters regarding the buying or selling of mineral rights private. Title research, contract negotiation mixed with a competitive environment makes it crucial to work with a landman you can trust.