They usually work in teams at the Clerk of Court's office, scouring section by section for ownership and status. When they find unleased property, they contact the owners and offer a lease. This is putting it simply, as it is a very complicated and intricate process.
Most oil and gas leases are for a term of three years. If no well is drilled in that period, then the owner may lease to a new company. If there is production, however, the lease remains in effect.
Some companies, notably Twin Cities Development, are aiming for five year leases, but the standard remains at three years.
The standard lease is usually for a 1/8 royalty share. Most companies will go up to 25%. The bonus paid at signing has been going as high as $2,000 to $2,500 per acre if you are in a prime location. Just remember, if a discovery is made that includes your property, the royalty share is the big number to consider.
If you think that you own property that could be affected, your best bet is to talk to a lawyer or possibly the oil and gas division at your bank. Get some professional advice before signing.
Below, landmen busy at work in the office of the Bossier Parish Clerk of Court.