Surface Land Professional

NOC #12102

  • Environment Primarily indoor/office work
  • Education Post-secondary diploma
  • Average salary $55,000 to $87,000

Career profile

Surface land professionals participate in the planning of drilling, pipeline and facility projects, and perform a critical role in negotiating the acquisition of the surface rights access required to carry out drilling and production activities. They work with farmers, property owners and other parties to develop agreements that allow their company to access, explore, drill or build in a particular area or piece of land.

The surface land professional provides valuable insights into surface, community, environmental and regulatory issues. They serve as an ambassador for the company and industry, and represent the company’s interests when interacting with landowners, regulators and industry partners. They are typically the first point of contact between land owners and a company.

Surface land professionals manage financial transactions and ensure field activity reporting and information sharing complies with laws and regulations. They often spend a significant amount of time away from their office negotiating with key stakeholders. Senior-level positions tend to work more in an office environment overseeing professionals working in the field.

Exploration and production, Pipelines, Engineering, design and procurement, Wellsite decommissioning, Geothermal, Solar, Wind

When you start in this occupation activities may include:

  • Setting up and maintaining agreements in the relevant databases and ensuring files and records are current, thorough and accurate
  • Monitoring obligations/commitment dates/expiry dates of surface land agreements
  • Serving as an ambassador for the company and industry, and representing the company’s interests with landowners, regulators and industry partners

As you advance in this career, you may take on additional tasks including

  • Negotiating on behalf of the company with landowners to acquire oil and gas surface leases, pipeline right-of-ways, meter site agreements, and other related agreements
  • Participating in the development, approval and maintenance of the Land Department’s policies, procedures and precedents and the review, comment and acceptance of industry drafted documents


  • Completion of a post-secondary diploma, and two- to three-years of relevant experience is typically required for this occupation. An internship is required to complete a Land Agent licence to become an accredited negotiator. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen (CAPL) offers a voluntary program to recognize experience, proficiency and professionalism.


  • Specific health and safety certifications will be determined by job requirements


  • Industry certification may be obtained for Certified Surface Landman (CSL) or PSL© (Professional Surface Landman) through the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen (CAPL). Both designations have a number of requirements that must be satisfied including a combination of active membership in CAPL, qualifying experience, completion of mandatory courses, academic achievement and payment of fees. The P.Land© designation also requires the completion of a written examination.
  • A valid driver’s licence may be required
  • A Land Agent licence is required for all negotiator roles


  • Travel likely required
  • Primarily indoor/office work
  • Work not physically demanding
  • Work away from home/in camps

You are a skilled and determined researcher with excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills. You are ethical. You are organized and pay attention to each detail. You work well with computerized data bases and research programs.

  • Collaborative
  • Attention to detail
  • Customer and personal service
  • Document use
  • Law and government
  • Administration and management
  • Judgment and decision making
  • Managing conflict
  • Planning and organizing
  • Negotiation