Energy Business and Finance

Pennsylvania countryside

Energy Land Management Option

The Energy Land Management option in the major of Energy Business and Finance (EBF) focuses on issues in the acquisition of sub-surface exploration rights. Designed in consultation with the American Association of Professional Landmen, this new option will provide expertise in the acquisition of sub-surface exploration rights and enable Penn State students to seek challenging careers as exploration landmen. Undergraduate students in the EBF major who choose the energy and land management option will follow the standard EBF academic plan with emphasis in energy, business and finance during the first two years of study. The second two years of the degree program then will provide a rigorous focus on land management expertise including courses in real estate fundamentals, energy law, geographic information sciences, petroleum engineering and petroleum geology. As the majority of today’s professionally trained landmen hail from the more traditional oil and gas oriented regions, the Penn State energy and land management option is poised to fill the void in the oil and gas industry’s ability to recruit and retain qualified candidates in the Appalachian basin.

The business of land has five disciplines: Acquisitions, GIS and Mapping, Business Strategic Development, Legal Analysis, and Records. Each is crucial to the success of an energy production company. Each represents a potential careers path for ELM graduates. A presentation by Scott Hodges, Senior Vice President, Land and Business Development, of Rex Energy in State College, Pa., describes each of these disciplines.

A total of 30 credits are required for the option.

What is a landman?
Landmen perform crucial land management services for the oil and natural gas exploration industry either working for the exploration company or on a contract basis. While the primary function of a landman is to research who owns the mineral rights to various parcels of land and to negotiate business agreements for the exploration and development of those minerals, the full array of services provided by landmen also includes:

  • Negotiating for the acquisition or divestiture of mineral rights.
  • Reviewing the status of title, curing title defects and otherwise reducing title risk associated with ownership in minerals.
  • Managing rights and/or obligations derived from ownership of interests in minerals.
  • Unitizing or pooling of interests in minerals.

A landman is a generalist in the oil and gas industry. He or she must possess a variety of skills in order to help an exploration company successfully drill for resources.

What knowledge and skills does a landman need?
To ensure your success as a landman, the Energy Land Management option will provide you with crucial knowledge in the fields of business and economics, information management, energy and science, as well as public policy and law. In addition, the Energy Land Management option will assist you with developing the multidisciplinary, entrepreneurial skills you will need throughout your career as a landman. This includes the ability to synthesize large amounts of data, problem-solve, engage in high-level complex negotiations, work in a team environment, and adapt to a constantly changing industry with new engineering and scientific technology.

What is unique about the Penn State Energy Land Management option within the Energy Business and Finance major?
The Penn State Energy and Land Management option is the first academic program of its kind in the northeast region of the United States to be accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL). The f other AAPL accredited programs following a similar curriculum are based in the western and sourthwestern regions of the United States, and therefore focus on the geography and terrain of those locations. Since the emergence of the Marcellus and Utica plays in the Appalachian basin, there is a strong need for professionally trained landmen who are experts in the terrain and law of that region in order to sustain these new oil and natural gas exploration and development opportunities. The curriculum of our Energy Land Management option is built to meet that need.

What are the other benefits of choosing Penn State’s Energy Land Management option within the Energy Business and Finance major?
When you choose to study in our Energy Land Management option, you can expect:

  • Industry-related internship opportunities.
  • The ability to apply for industry-sponsored scholarships.
  • Membership in the future Penn State student chapter of the American Association of Professional Landmen, which will provide professional networking and social experiences as well as on-site field trips.
  • Career opportunities and competitive salaries with major oil and natural gas companies as well as other energy-related corporations and financial institutions.

Who hires landmen?
In addition to oil and natural gas companies, landmen also are employed by electricity, wind energy, telecommunications, mining, power, and transportation companies along with various local municipalities and financial institutions.

How does the job market look like for landmen?
Qualified landmen are in demand! A large percentage of landmen currently working in the energy industry are nearing retirement and are leaving the industry with a significant shortage of landmen. On top of that, there are only a small handful of University majors specializing in energy land management today, which means graduates of these programs will have access to many job opportunities. Furthermore, Penn State students will be specially trained to address the challenges of the natural gas plays in the United States, in contrast to students at other programs.

Energy Land Management Club
On August 27, 2014, Bernie Ulincy, Land Manger for SWN Energy gave a presentation to the ELM Club. You can find his presentation here.

Range Resources and Purple Land Management Presentation.

Penn State Energy Land Management Advisory Board

A list of all the required courses for the program are available on the Recommended Academic Plan/Scheduling Guide for Energy Business and Finance - Land Mangement Option.