Find a Landman
Find out what a Landman does, how to find one, and some viable alternatives.
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What can an AAPL landman help me with?
Most landmen work for oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) companies, performing title work or negotiating with mineral owners to acquire leases prior to drilling a well. There are also independent landmen who do shorter-term work for probate attorneys, trustees, and individual mineral owners.
Many mineral owners will need the assistance of a landman or an oil and gas attorney at some point.
Landmen typically help mineral owners figure out what they own, transfer ownership after death, estimate the value of their mineral rights, negotiate oil and gas leases, and cure the title to get into pay status. There are also alternatives to hiring a landmen.
Research Your Mineral Rights
Estimate the Value of Your Mineral Rights
An AAPL landman can help you estimate the value of your mineral rights. Depending on how much you own, this might be an experienced-based estimate or the landman may recommend a mineral rights appraiser for a precise valuation.
Perform Curative Title Work
Oil and Gas Lease Negotiation
Having an attorney and/or landman negotiate an oil and gas lease on your behalf is usually well worth the extra expense. Attorneys may be better for the prcice language and a landman may be better at coming to mutually agreeable terms.
What Will it Cost to Hire a Landman?
Landmen typically charge by the day rather than by the hour. Expect to pay somewhere between $350-$600 per day, depending on the landman’s credentials and location.
Land work often requires travel to another county in order to perform title searches. When travel is required, expect to cover the landman’s daily fee in addition to travel, lodging, and meals.
Land work can vary from project to project. Recording a document with the county clerk is very different from spending weeks (or months) sorting through title records to determine mineral ownership across multiple counties.
A landman will be able to give you a rough estimate of project’s cost. It’s usually best to find a landman in your state (or county).
How Do I Find a Landman?
Most landmen are certified through the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) but oddly enough, AAPL’s directory is not available to the public.
So, how does a mineral owner find a landman?
Mineral Rights Forum
There are a lot of helpful people on the Mineral Rights Forum, including landmen who would happy to do some work for you (for a fee, of course).
Google [your state] + "landman"
By googling your state and the term, “landman”, may be able to find local listings for landmen.
Landmen are expensive, but there are alternatives. You can do a lot of the work yourself (or arrange for us to help).
An attorney can also figure out what you own, transfer ownership, and help you get into pay status. Landmen generally charge $500 per day, while attorneys charge $300-$400 per hour. Both can be exceptionally expensive. It’s not uncommon for a project to cost 10-20K, which may be more than the value of your mineral rights!
That is expensive! Is there a cheaper alternative?
There is an alternative. We buy mineral rights, so we’re really good at figuring out what is owned, transferring ownership, and getting into pay status. We sometimes help mineral owners sort out their mineral rights and get into pay status in exchange for a percentage of their mineral rights. Each situation is unique, so contact us if you are interested in an arrangement like this.
Is this all too much?
You can also sell your mineral rights. Sometimes that’s the best and easiest solution. It won’t cost you anything to sell, and the buyer does all of the work.
Types of Landmen
Landmen typically work for oil and gas companies, researching the titles and negotiating directly with landowners to acquire oil and gas drilling leases on behalf of the oil and gas company. Landmen generally fall into three categories: company landmen, independent field landmen, and independent land consultants. Landmen are certified through the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL).
Registered Landman (RL)
A Registered Landman (RL) is the AAPL’s initial level of certification, indicating a fundamental knowledge of the land industry and a commitment to further education.
Registered Professional Landman (RPL)
Certified Professional Landman (CPL)
How We Value Mineral Rights
There are many factors that play into the value of mineral rights. These include location, producing vs. non-producing properties, current oil and gas prices, well production figures, lease terms, and even the operator of the well or wells. We also look at the risks of buying and owning minerals that you are interested in selling.
Minerals in the hottest shale plays are more valuable than those in older fields with conventional wells.
Producing vs. Non-Producing
Producing minerals are often worth more than non-producing minerals because they are generating revenue.
Oil & Gas Prices
When oil and gas prices drop, revenue drops, and sometimes operators are unable to continue operating the well.
Highly productive wells (and off-set wells) can increase the value of your minerals.
Favorable lease terms (such as a 25% royalty reservation) positively impact the value of the leased minerals.
A small number of operators are unethical, and their reputation automatically devalues your minerals.
Why People Sell Their Mineral Rights
I am putting my affairs in order. I don’t want to burden my kids with the hassle of transferring ownership and managing small mineral rights. When my sister passed away, my niece and nephew had to hire an attorney to help them with the minerals. I don’t want my kids to go through that.
I inherited my mineral rights so they were sentimental, but I don’t really want to bother with managing them and filing extra tax returns. I decided to sell and use the money as a down payment on my house.
I had no idea how fast the oil production would decline. My checks are only 20% of what they were a few years ago. I should have sold my mineral rights when the wells were brand new and still generating huge royalties.
My oil wells have been producing for decades and the reserves are almost depleted. Once the wells are plugged, the value will be significantly lower. I’d rather cash out now.
I inherited mineral rights, but don’t want to be involved with fracking and fossil fuels. I would prefer to support renewable energy and do my part to reverse climate change.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Long does it take to sell my mineral rights?
It depends. We can often provide an offer within a few days and close in a week, but that depends where the minerals are located and how easy it is to verify a clean title. In some areas, records are online and we can move quickly. Other areas require that title records be sent via mail. In some cases there is a title defect that must be corrected before we can close.
The bottom line is that we try our best to close within a week or two. It rarely takes longer and sometimes, we can close in a matter of days – especaially in cases where the mineral owner is near death and the family needs to get the minerals out of their estate to avoide costly probate proceedings.
Do all mineral rights lose value over time?
Yes. Oil and gas are finite resources, and all petroleum reservoirs will eventually be depleted, some faster than others. Additional wells can temporarily increase royalty income. However, as technology advances and operators pull oil and gas from the ground faster, decline curves accelerate, shortening the productive life of a well.
Many mineral owners choose to sell their minerals while the value is still high. That money can be invested in other ways, used to improve your lifestyle (new car, new house, remodel, vacation, wedding, solar panels, or any number of other options).
What raises the value of my mineral rights?
The following factors will increase the value of your mineral rights:
- Clear title
- Permitted wells onsite
- Newer wells (but not too new)
- Flatter decline curve
- Favorable lease terms
- High oil and gas prices
- Operator with a good reputation
- Potential for additional wells
What lowers the value of my mineral rights?
Here are some of the following factors that can decrease the value of your mineral rights:
- Title Problems
- Non-producing minerals
- Property that is held by production (HBP) by low-producing wells
- Leases that hold excessive non-producing acreage
- Steep decline curves
- Poor offset production (for non-producing properties)
- Low oil and gas prices
Operator with a bad reputation
- Leases that allow operators to have free use of oil and gas
- Poor economy or recession
I'm not sure I want to sell everything. Can I sell part of my mineral rights?
Absolutely. You can sell any percentage of your mineral rights (it is common to sell 50%). You can even sell the royalty interest and keep your mineral interest. Selling only the royalty interest is a way to get a lump sum of money now and still keep the mineral interest in your family.