Despite the fact that the position of landman is considered entry level, it can be hard, detailed work and requires some knowledge and expertise of the oil or gas industry. Before an oil or gas company can begin drilling or mining, it must first gain the rights to do so through the use of purchase or lease agreements. The landman is the man or woman who does the research to verify who holds the title and the mineral rights to a specific parcel of land. Once he or she knows who owns the land, the landman (the title remains the same whether the person holding it is a man or woman) then must negotiate acquiring the rights to drill or mine on it. This can include sometimes tense negotiations with the property owner, and drafting the appropriate paperwork and obtaining the signatures.
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Most landmen work for oil and gas companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP, and Chevron, but they can also work for small, independent companies and as independent contractors. While the occupation was dominated by males through the early 1980s, a larger percentage of woman have joined the field. One reason that women are finding it easier to get a job as a landman is the fact that the Internet has allowed landmen to conduct research online, which means they don’t have to go out in the field as often. Still, a big part of the job is negotiating the contract, and that can be where a lot of the stress occurs.