Opinion

Regulations, green concerns and legal issues have made life hell for the landman – if only there were one map to rule them all


Leaders in the upstream sector are under intense pressure to drive business value for their companies. Land management is a significant, but complex and uniquely challenging part of that challenge.

There is so much to be taken into account when drilling a well, from ownership to shifting government policies, overlapping jurisdictions, and environment protection rules. Add acquisitions and divestitures to the mix, and the situation gets even more complicated.

Complexity in land management is particulalry acute in the US, where an increasing number of wells can now be present within a single plot of land. About thirty years ago, a lease would normally be for a single well going southward from the surface to the centre of the earth within a certain number of acres. Now you can have four wells on the same plot going sideways too, to get the most of the minerals. There is the added complexity of different layers of the same land being leased to different companies. In urban areas, there are thousands of owners who potentially change every month and in non-urban areas there are the important issues of wildlife or land protection.

The multitude of possible scenarios that need covering can leave your business exposed to the traditional challenges that can hamper productivity and effectiveness. This is why land professionals don't want to have to rely on manual record keeping or a myriad of spreadsheets as these can turn out to be less accurate and costly. They want to be able to view all their oil and gas assets in one location so they can make an informed decision on the best drill site tract, the optimal formation to produce from, or the most effective order to develop their leasehold to keep the most acres.

By unifying multiple platforms with a single technology solution that gives you access to vital information at the click of a button, you can deliver actionable data for all parties across your organisation, from the land manager to operations, and avoid pitfalls like incomplete tracking of information in a database, data inconsistency, inaccuracy in reporting or lease losses due to missed payments.

Query for anything 

Advanced land technology solutions bring intelligent mapping, asset management and ease of use in one place, making them easier and more comprehensive. Anyone, from lease analysts to land managers and everyone in between is enabled to visualize business information and obtain quick answers to everyday questions.

Embedded maps can be used for real-time visualization and enable you to gain on-the-spot answers to advanced land questions. Rather than poring over spreadsheets and paper reports for information, the real-time map can be used to see your leasehold position relative to the competition's, your net revenue interest for a group of wells, lease extensions, provisions and other business data. If anything needs to be analysed further, technology should make it possible for you to perform a search and see all of the related information on the map.

Intelligent technology can also make rental-recommendation process paperless. Imagine being able to move away from paper reports and tracking to a seamless online solution. Land administrators can create online calendars for contract expirations, lease obligations, lease expirations and other events. The system then routes the calendars to the appropriate staff for online review and approval to ensure that no deadlines are missed.

Applying this type of technology to mobile devices means brokers to capture lease information in the field. When information is entered, it's immediately routed to the land system for review and approval by lease analysts. One-time data entry lets you secure the best leases for the best price and cut out errors in the process.

Its also possible to create tailored queries for any information managed in the system. Those queries will give you options to help do the most with your assets, and having options puts you at an advantage against your competitors.
 
Other areas where advanced land technoogies can make a landman's life easier include:

Expiration schedule queries: This allows companies to see all leases coming up before expiration and add-in provisions like seeing which agreements have an option to extend, if payment has been set up, and visibility of non-producing leases whose extensions have not already been paid.

Minerals available to lease query: This capability can help identify the tracts of land you should be marketing, showing all unleased and partially leased minerals by county on your map. Analyzing oil and gas data to see leasing and well activity can provide a good idea of which minerals you should be marketing.
 
Legal description query: Whether it's a call from an unknown owner who wants to know where their money is or a cessation notice that only has the API number and legal, this search can help steer pin down the agreements in question. Queries can be custimized by agreement number, tract name, and lessor name. You can also bring back the well name, API number and any cross references to see if the lease might be held by production elsewhere.

Used properly, the querying power within modern land management solutions can give you competitive advantage, enabling you to evaluate all options intelligently and quickly with all necessary information at your fingertips. As adoption increases, daily land management across the industry promises to become more efficient and a value driver for upstream businesses.

ENDS


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