There has been a fair amount of legitimate hand-wringing in Ohio over the business practices of some landmen operating in the state on behalf of some drilling companies. There also are a fair number of people who have never heard of a land man and can’t imagine their role in the oil and gas exploration and production industry. In her role as a blogger for Crain’s Shale Report, Robertson explains the role of landmen in the shale oil and gas development process and the concerns they raise for landowners.
Robertson notes that landmen are paid by oil and gas companies to secure mineral leases with terms favorable to the companies. To entice their target landowners, landmen often offer upfront bonuses and royalty payments. But it’s difficult for landowners, who are understandably not savvy to the ins and outs of oil and gas leases, to know what the lease might really be worth.
Landmen, eager for their commissions, are known to hurry landowners into signing on the proverbial dotted line. They may tell the landowners that their neighbors have already signed, whether or not that is true. They may tell the landowners that if they don’t sign immediately, the deal will disappear. For people without means, the upfront money may be too good to resist, even if it binds them to an unfavorable lease.
Although there have been legislative efforts to regulate landman conduct, none has succeeded in Ohio to date. There are voluntary codes of conduct that help, but not enough. In this post, Robertson highlights those efforts as well as some progress in the area of information availability.
To read the blog post, click here: