What is a Landman?

‘Landman’ is actually short for ‘land management’.

There are many responsibilities for a landman. In large companies or corporations these positions can be very specialized. However, in general the duties of a landman are to scout for land or mineral rights, investigate the titles of ownership and to manage the contracts, leases and subsequent royalties associated with the use of land or mineral rights.

Responsibilities of a Landman:

  • Negotiate contracts, leases, and settlements
  • Coordinate dialogue between landowners and field personnel
  • Cost/Risk analysis on particular deeds, leases, and royalty agreements
  • Professional-level communication skills with both client and management
  • Manage all land and mineral right contracts, leases, and settlements

Two types of Landmen:

The first type is usually referred to as an ‘in-house‘. This is often within a large company wherein someone at a corporate or centralized location is needed to handle the backend or internal managment of accounts. Almost without exception these positions require a bachelor’s degree in a related field: business, land management/energy management, etc.

The second type is known as either ‘surface‘ or ‘field‘. These are the ones that will travel to locations in order to investigate opportunites or to establish relationships with more of a “feet on the ground” presence. This job is very often in a contractor relationship with the oil or gas company, hired on a per-case basis at times. The most basic duty of a surface landman is to travel to the courthouse where the land of interest resides and acquire the relevant legal documentation. A bachelor’s degree is not always required for this position.

One route to a landman position is by getting certified through the American Association of Professional Landmen. With over 18,000 members in the United States, the AAPL has set down a standard in the industry which is respected and recognized throughout the oil & gas sectors.

They offer three levels of training: Registered (RL), Register Professional (RPL), and Certified Professional (CPL).

Landman Salary

As with any career, experience plays a large role in determining salary. As of 2017, the median salary was $81,154, with an overall salary range from $53,000-$120,000.


Typically, the landman is associated with the Oil & Gas industry. Rightfully so, as that industry accounts for the vast majority of positions. However, in the wind energy sector as well as mining operations, these positions are also needed in order to procure and manage the contracts for land and mineral use.

In popular culture, the landman sometimes gets a bad reputation as someone who comes to a quiet peaceful town and swindles someone out of their land or their mineral rights. This was exemplified in the 2012 movie ‘Promised Land’ starring Matt Damon.

The AAPL has taken it upon themselves to address this negative image.

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