A landman holds an important position in the energy and natural resource industries. Employed mainly by mining and energy companies, the landman is mainly concerned with acquiring and maintaining access to the rights to use land for natural resource extraction. While this position oce entailed on-the-ground exploration, the position today is primarily an indoor job that still requires an occasional front-line presence (sometimes in inclement weather or rough conditions).
One of the chief duties of a landman is negotiating for the rights to extract minerals or gas from the ground (mineral rights) and securing access to the sites acquired (right of way). This requires excellent negotiating skills, as well as knowledge of earth sciences and the legal details of such agreements. Other duties may include keeping up with all the necessary paperwork and legal documentation that is required by state, federal, and international law; acting as a liaison to and coordinating with other departments within the company; and providing information and advice on competing interests in the area.
While not required, many companies prefer a bachelor’s degree in business or the earth sciences, or they have equivalent experience in the field; there are some universities that have a specific program for this type of work (energy or land management). The skills needed for this position include maintaining an up-to-date knowledge of relevant laws, the ability to understand and file legal documents, and the ability to negotiate with land owners and their representatives. They should also pay excellent attention to detail, be able to multitask, have basic computer skills, be able to work well in a team, and be able to read a map.
Oversee the work of technical staff and supervise geological procedures necessary to identify exploration sites.
Assess the cost of oil and gas wells and monitor production rates to improve exploration processes.
Coordinate field exploration activities.