I was very excited to intern at SM Energy this summer in a Land Administration role. Going into it I did not have any idea of what would be in store. No one in industry really talks about Land Administration and what goes on, so I was very excited to see what would be in store for my internship. Land Administration is not what many think it is. It is a very important part of a Land department and I learned that first hand this summer.
I began working in Lease Records for my first half of my summer. As I came to find out this is the where the most analytical work comes into play. Those skills like attention to detail and organization truly come into play. Analysts receive the specific document (in my case Rights of Way) and with the system the analyst pulls all the information that is most important and captures it. This truly requires a keen eye for pulling the correct provisions or obligations for the Landman/Analyst to track easily.
Division Orders entails even more analytical information. They are the ones tasked with tracking people interest whether it is the Feds or a simple Royalty Owner. It does require a lot of excel calculations but, it is not just “sitting in a cube and making numbers add to one”. It is so much more. It requires analysts to know statutes and families personally to resolve people. As my coach put it Land will always need Division Order Analysts because people die, and interest will be transferred.
SM Energy did a great job with seeing both departments work together and Land Administration as a whole and working closely with the Regional Land Departments. Not all companies are like this though. Some work completely separate from one another or at other, analysts will do both Division Orders and Lease Records for their specific wells. However, don’t be deterred if you get offered a Land Administration offer. From everyone I talked to, the best Landmen are those that truly understand both sides of the Land Department.
The pictures I added along with this Letters from the Road are those from a field trip I got to attend along with the Billings Interns to Wyoming which just so happened to fall on my 20th birthday (what a way to spend it right?). What is actually really cool about these two wells that we visited (one a frac site and the other a rig) were wells that I actually had the chance to work on. The well that was being fracked was my favorite because I saw the process from Lease Records to Division Orders. The rig was a well that I also worked with on the Lease Records side. I was truly grateful and lucky to have an experience that many do not get of working on the same wells in both Lease Records and Division Orders.
Overall my advice would be take a Land Administration internship if it is offered. It truly will only benefit you in the long run and make you a better Landman. If you put your mind to anything and use the skills that we work on during recruiting and classes you will only succeed in industry.