The Evolution of the American Landman

in Oil Patch History

This guest post was written by Paul Cones, President of They make it easy for professionals in the oil and gas industry to save time and money accessing valuable courthouse information online.

Oil and gas landmen have long held an important role in the development of American resources. From the time the first oil well was drilled in 1859 to the inception of horizontal drilling and beyond, the oil and gas industry has evolved dramatically – and the role of petroleum landmen has changed along with it.

Petroleum Development in American History

The oil and gas industry has played a major part in American history since the creation of several of today’s most profitable petroleum companies in the mid-1800s. The development of Texas’ first mineral reservation in 1878 and the 1901 discovery of the Spindletop geyser contributed to huge industry growth, and by 1912, Cincinnati was home to America’s first gas station.

As the oil business boomed, the petroleum landman became a crucial player in the transaction of mineral rights. The Panhandle Association of Petroleum Landmen was founded in 1950, and the American Association of Professional Landmen followed five years later. The next 60 years would see the spread of horizontal drilling in shale basins across America, and today, oil remains a major part of our country’s economy.

What Do Landmen Do?

Professional landmen are responsible for obtaining the mineral rights to a piece of land from the land owner or owners. As a result, their job involves extensive research of property rights, along with negotiation of mineral rights and assets. While most landmen work for a major oil and gas company, others operate independently.

The Changing Role of Technology in the Petroleum Business

While the original landmen relied on typewriters, pay phones and hand-drawn maps to conduct business, today’s landmen enjoy a wealth of high-tech tools to facilitate their research. From mobile phones and tablets to online court record searches and satellite imagery, modern technology offers this generation of landman a more accurate experience – and a more secure future.

About this Infographic developed a helpful infographic to further illustrate the history of the oil and gas industry – and the landman’s role within it. Read on to see the key historical developments in the petroleum business, including the first operational oil wells and the advent of horizontal fracking, plus a detailed look at the evolution of the landman profession, from certification levels to average compensation. (You can click on the image for a larger version)

Evolution of Petroleum Landman

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