UW Offers New Degree to Train Professional Landmen

December 14, 2012

The University of Wyoming’s efforts to meet critical Wyoming workforce demands have taken another step forward with the start of a new undergraduate program in professional land management.

UW’s program is one of just seven in North America accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen. Graduates of the program will be nationally certified professional landmen, prepared for long-term competitive success in the oil, gas and mining industries, says Don Roth, deputy director for academics in UW’s School of Energy Resources, who has led development of the new program as part of a portfolio of energy-related academic programs.

Landmen have a vital role in maintaining sound stewardship of energy and mineral resources, he says. They determine land ownership and availability for mineral leasing; negotiate agreements with landowners for drilling and production rights; draft and administer contracts with the assistance of corporate counsel; coordinate workflow with geologists and engineers; and ensure compliance with government regulations.

“There’s a tremendous demand for landmen, particularly in the West,” Roth says. “We’re excited to be able to help fill that need with top-quality UW graduates.”

The program connects coursework in law, business, geology, engineering and math with opportunities for practical application. It emphasizes direct industry experience through internships, collaborations with practicing professional landmen and attorneys, field trips and other interactions with the energy sector.

“These experiences will position our graduates for immediate workforce success,” Roth says.

The program’s comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach is “cutting edge” and will give UW’s program a competitive advantage, especially in the area of federal, state, private and Indian land issues, he says.

The Wyoming Association of Professional Landmen (WAPL) provided valuable assistance in designing the program and will continue to be closely involved to ensure its success.

“We are very proud of the work done in collaboration with the University of Wyoming and feel that this new program will fill a continued need of creating an educated workforce in our profession throughout the greater Rocky Mountain Region and across the country,” WAPL President Marc Strahn says.

UW’s new degree will provide graduates with an array of outstanding career possibilities, Roth says. And the timing of the program’s start is excellent. Of the approximately 25,000 landmen in the United States today, 54 percent are 50 years of age or older. Together, with rapidly expanding energy exploration and development in the West, this creates great opportunities in the industry for new graduates. Recent surveys also show that landmen command entry-level salaries of about $60,000, while experienced landmen can earn more than $150,000 annually.

“Most importantly, these are exciting, challenging and fulfilling careers,” Roth says. “The landman profession offers the potential to blend technology with business and law to help landowners understand complex issues surrounding energy development. It requires a unique blend of entrepreneurship, initiative, problem-solving and communication skills with a deep concern for people.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the new program should contact Roth by calling (307) 766-6816 or emailing rothdon@uwyo.edu.

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