Frequently Asked Questions


What is a landman?

Landmen are the public facing (business) side of the oil, gas and mineral exploration and production team. They interact and negotiate directly with landowners to acquire oil and gas drilling leases on the behalf of oil and gas companies. There are three different types of landmen:

Company landmen
– Negotiate deals and trades with other companies and individuals, draft contracts (and administer their compliance), acquire leases, clear title, prepare land for drilling and ensure compliance with governmental regulation.

Independent field landmen – Serve clients on a contract basis and are generally the industry’s contact with the public as they research courthouse records to determine ownership and prepare necessary reports and locate mineral and land owners. They negotiate oil and gas leases and various other agreements, obtain necessary curative documents and conduct surface inspections before drilling.

Independent land consultants
– Serve clients on a contract basis to perform the functions listed above. Much effort is directed to due diligence examinations required in the purchase and sale of companies and properties.

What is a lease?

An oil/gas/mineral lease is an important legal document that defines the relationship between the lessor – the landowner (or the owner of the mineral rights) and the lessee – the party interested in producing/extracting the oil, gas or other minerals. The lease defines the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the parties. There is no "standard" lease; each oil/gas company or landman will attempt to use a form that contains provisions that serve the lessee's purposes.

What should I know about the lease process?

The oil and gas industry utilizes several standardized lease forms to assist both companies and landowners alike with information in order to negotiate a lease. We promote open and honest communication between the landman and landowner before signing the lease. 

Many standard lease forms mutually share the risks and offer certain protections for both parties. All provisions of a lease are negotiable and can involve give and take on behalf of both parties to reach an agreement. If a landowner is uncertain whether his or her individual needs have been addressed, they should feel free to ask questions or to obtain competent representation.

What questions should I ask?

We encourage landowners to ask questions when negotiating their lease and understand the process once a lease is signed. Important things landowners should understand prior to signing are:

  • What are the rights being granted under the lease to the lessee (company)?
  • What rights does the landowner (lessor) have?
  • What are the responsibilities of the lessee?
  • What is the process from signing a lease through actual drilling and any royalty payments?
  • Who do I contact if I have a question during this period?
What is AAPL?

The American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) is the professional association of the landman industry, serving as the voice and primary source of information as well as a provider of educational opportunities for the profession.

AAPL’s mission is to promote the highest standards of proficiency for all land professionals, to protect the public trust, to ensure the highest quality of service and to promote sound stewardship of energy and mineral resources.

As a professional organization, we encourage membership by all landmen to elevate the entire profession and reassure the public they are being dealt with in an ethical manner.

How does AAPL serve the public?


As part of its mission, AAPL works to safeguard the interest of landowners. We accomplish this through our proactive legislative advocacy and the enforcement of our
Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, by which all members of AAPL agree to abide.

In addition, AAPL encourages landowners to ask questions when negotiating their lease and understand the process before a lease is signed. We also encourage landowners to contact us to determine if a landman is a member in good standing as well as to report incidents of behavior that appear to be unethical in nature.

What does a landman’s membership in AAPL mean to me?


Every AAPL member abides by the high ethical standards outlined in AAPL’s
Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. AAPL members who violate our Code of Ethics are dealt with strictly, to ensure accountability to the public and our members. When landowners work with a member of AAPL, they can feel confident they are working with a landman who operates professionally and ethically.

How do I find out if a landman is an AAPL member?


AAPL encourages landowners to contact AAPL to determine if a landman is a member in good standing by calling 817-847-7700.


I believe a landman I worked with was unethical.
What can I do?

Please contact AAPL by calling 817-847-7700 to determine if the landman you worked with is a member of AAPL. If he is a member, we encourage you to report incidences of behavior that appear to be unethical in nature.

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Landman Etiquette

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