(p. A1) Carter Collum used to spend mornings shoulder to shoulder with competitors in the record rooms of East Texas courthouses, hunting for the owners of underground natural-gas deposits. At night, he made house calls, offering payments and royalties for permission to drill.
Mr. Collum worked as a landman, tracking the owners of oil and gas trapped in rock layers thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface and getting their signatures, a job about as old as the American petroleum industry.
. . .
These days, the jobs are going dry. Landmen, after riding the highs of the boom, face weakened demand for fossil fuels and investor indifference to shale companies after years of poor returns. Instead of oil and gas (p. A10) fields, some landmen are securing wind and solar fields, spots where the sun shines brightest and the wind blows hardest.
The difference is shale wells eventually empty and, in good times, that keeps landmen on the prowl for new land and new contracts. Wind and solar energy never run out, limiting demand for new leases as well as landmen.
For the full story, see:
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(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 18, 2021, and has the title “Landmen Who Once Staked Claims for Oil and Gas Now Hunt Wind and Sun.”)