Surface Land Professional

The Surface Land Professional is the first point of contact between an oil and gas company and a landowner. They work with farmers, property owners and other parties to create agreements that allow companies to explore, drill and start production in a particular area.

Maps are their method. They’re provided with location descriptions that outline areas the company needs to access. These could be for exploration, drilling, production, pipeline construction or even gaining a right-of-way for crews to drive to a site.

What a typical day looks like:

Surface Land Professionals have a lot of meetings. They work closely with landowners to discuss options, negotiate contracts and ultimately make it possible for companies to get where they need to be. That’s why they often need to work mornings, evenings or weekends to meet with landowners on their schedules.

Once a deal is struck, work shifts to the office. A Surface Land Professional needs to accurately prepare paperwork on tight deadlines, working with company lawyers to legalize agreements and ensure legal paperwork is filed with the appropriate regulatory bodies.

The kinds of problems Surface Land Professionals solve at work:

Before a deal can even happen, there are investigative problems to solve. There can be long hours searching public records or travelling to the homes or offices of landowners. Surface Land Professionals work with Land Surveyors, Landman Professionals and Mineral Rights Professionals to determine which acres, roads and properties are needed for operations, and to find their owners.

After finding a property’s landowners, the main challenge is negotiating. Surface Land Professionals have to be able to strike the best deal for their company and the landowner.

Skills used most on the job:

Surface Land Professionals are researchers, negotiators and advisors all rolled into one.

First, they need strong research skills to find the owner of the land. Then, they need to flex their negotiation skills and get the landowners to sell or lease the rights, or even negotiate with company competitors on divestitures, acquisitions and joint venture agreements. And when all of that’s been done, a Surface Land Professional plays the role of the advisor to their companies, providing advice on land strategies to capture value-add opportunities and solving queries from their companies’ departments.

Surface Land Professionals may be the first point of contact, but their jobs are nothing but one-dimensional.

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