Landnews

New Bylaws

  • 1.  New Bylaws

    Posted 04-23-2020 17:39
    Edited by Marcus Brown 04-24-2020 11:50

    Looks like we are trying to go after new members by redefining "land work" from being mineral related to "energy sources". So, without saying so, we are adding solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, geothermal, and maybe more energy sectors. Considering that the AAPL is largely tone deaf to our current field members, and field represents around 60% of membership, I don't know why we would support expanding membership to additional people that will be represented even less well. This is also going to be a major resource drain as the new membership fees are unlikely to be able to cover the same level of regulatory information that minerals has, along with the same level of Federal and State regulatory representation, and along with having to retool our handbook and RPL/CPL exams to add to and test their unique knowledge.

    Looks like we are also changing the student memberships from " at an accredited college or university" to "at a AAPL accredited college or university". My presumption is that the AAPL accreditation isn't free, so this looks like a money grab to exclude 99% of college students unless their schools pony up. There is currently no reason that these schools would pony up for the AAPL accreditation when there is no AAPL requirement for it within the RPL/CPL program because at it's core, the RPL/CPL is a trade certification similar to pilots, certain tax preparers, right of way, and building specialists, not a legally required professional certification like attorneys, paralegals, accountants, doctors, nurses etc have.




    ------------------------------
    Marcus Brown, RPL CPLTA CNSA
    Independent Field Landman
    Brown Land Services, LLC
    361-728-5453
    Marcus_r_brown@hotmail.com
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 04-27-2020 10:40
    Stacey Gavin with the AAPL reached out to me last night and this morning about this post, I appreciate him doing that. He wanted to add some context to the debate and support the already robust discussion that the board had when they approved the changes.

    1) The AAPL is looking to expand the definition of landman to include land work related to all current and future energies, which is why it is so broad. He did acknowledge that currently there is limited educational or institutional support for these fields within the AAPL as the similarities between petroleum minerals and wind/solar surface was likely limited to contract law, but stated that they were plans in the pipeline to add a hand full of solar and wind questions to the RPL and CPL exams within the next year, and that they would like to update the handbook, but we didn't talk about a timeline for that.
    2) The AAPL is specifically looking to expand into Right of Way, which will now be included in the land work definition
    3) The AAPL is not wanting to expand into the division order or lease and title analysis/land tech fields even though there is a fair amount of overlap
    4) The change to the student membership to include only AAPL accredited programs was to harmonize it with the scholarship program, which only awards scholarships  to AAPL accredited programs. I asked if there were any plans to harmonize the AAPL accredited requirement with the CPL qualification and he said that it was discussed, but there is no current plan for that. So, it seems that our student membership will have a higher educational standard than our CPLs for the foreseeable future.
    I would like to see these additional land fields added, but I do think that the AAPL should have educational opportunities and tailored support for those members, and it doesn't sound like that is going to be forthcoming at all in some cases, or any time soon in others. People being unable to certify or recertify because of the definition doesn't appear to have been an issue. The AAPL is expecting large losses to membership over the low oil price related job cuts and is trying to expand membership to cut those losses.

    On the AAPL accreditation, I would like to see student membership either harmonized with the CPL degree requirement or the CPLs degree requirement eliminated completely. I don't think that student membership should be subject to a higher standard than CPLs. I have personally advocated for removing the degree requirement from CPLs as it is my understanding that the percentage of CPLs with an AAPL accredited energy degree is very low and the percentage of CPLs with an energy degree from any program is also low.

    ------------------------------
    Marcus Brown, RPL CPLTA CNSA
    Independent Field Landman
    Brown Land Services, LLC
    361-728-5453
    Marcus_r_brown@hotmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 28 days ago

    The "Land" business is changing...AAPL can either adapt to survive or wither away on the vine.

    I recently saw a comment on another thread that "real Landmen" run title, buy leases, cure defects, negotiate surface agreements and buy the necessary right-of-way.  While I was taught to do all of that when I started in this business, it doesn't happen like that much any more.  On large scale projects, division of tasks into specialization is far more efficient.  We have Abstractors, Lease Buyers, and Surface Landmen doing those jobs.  On small scale projects one person can do it all, but with non-conventional exploration, economies of scale matter.  The internet and on-line records availability has made land work more of a global commodity and the outsourcing of that work was inevitable.  Many traditional Landman skills transfer well to non-hydrocarbon industries like wind and solar.  The "Land" business is changing...individuals can either adapt to survive or wither away on the vine.

    The in-house side of the business has changed too.  Last year I did some work for a small company where the in-house land staff consisted of a CPLTA/CDOA (not an AAPL member) but their duties were that of Land Manager directing field brokers and coordinating title opinions and curative with the attorney and brokers.  I've seen situations where the Surface Landman reports directly to the Drilling Manager, not a Land Manager.  Many large companies and some small ones too have began investing in "alternative energies" along side of their traditional hydrocarbon businesses.  The "Land" business is changing...many companies have adapted to survive so they do not wither on the vine.

    As a past officer of the AAPL I have heard many complaints about AAPL being too reactive and not proactive enough (or at all).  Personally I think these changes should have happened years ago, but paradigm shifts face much opposition and take time to happen.  I believe there are plenty of other changes AAPL can make to better adapt to the future, but those paradigm shifts will also take time.

    I fully intend to support the proposed changes to the bylaws because I truly believe they represent a step in the right direction.

    DISCLOSURE - I have not been actively involved in AAPL activities for about 15 months (other than renewing my certification in February) so I was not involved in the board discussions and have no inside knowledge regarding the decisions leading up to these proposed changes.  All of the above represents my own two cents worth.

    Glen L. Mauldin, CPL
    2017-2018 AAPL Treasurer



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    Glen Mauldin CPL
    Houston TX
    (281) 635-9661
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 28 days ago
    While I may agree with most or even all of Glen Mauldin's points, it still remains that the proposed changes to the bylaws to incorporate the changes he has described in what landwork is or has now become have in my view been so poorly constructed, literally, and so prospectively harmful that they are simply not acceptable.

    For that reason I will vote "No" on the changes, encourage other members to do the same, and hope that leadership will come to its senses, listen to what we have said, take seriously the points we have made, go back to the drawing board, and construct something that says what it is supposed to mean and means what it supposedly says. And in doing that perhaps it would be best not to have 100-plus cooks in the kitchen.

    I'm sure that AAPL will survive in the meantime.

    ------------------------------
    Billy K. Lemons
    Pres. / Principal Consultant
    Resource Analytical & Management Group, LLC
    Mailing: P.O. Box 632400
    Nacogdoches, Texas 75963-2400
    Email: billy.k.lemons@resourceanalytical.com
    844.936.2400 Ext. 1101 Office
    844.936.2401 Facsimile

    ResourceAnalytical.com
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 27 days ago
    Glen,

    How do you think that the AAPL will survive international outsourcing? Both field and in-house can largely be outsourced to either India or Pakistan with about the same ease. Those contractors that replace field landmen earn on average $175 a month, in-house is likely in the same range, how are they going to pay the yearly dues? That is the equivalent of dues of $10,000 a month for us. There is no way that they are going to pay our dues, not a chance.

    Lets talk about the recently canceled national meeting, what was the cost of that? Around $450ish if my memory serves, that is three months of pay for a landman in India. Now lets add a $1200 flight and $250/night hotel to the mix. Lets call it a total of $3000 to attend. That is over 16 months of pay to attend our yearly conference. How many of them do you think will spend 16 months of pay to attend? Zero?

    How about NAPE, how many $175 a month in house landmen do you think are going to fly over to attend? Surely thousands of them.

    If we allow ourselves to get wiped out by this, which is entirely our decision, I don't believe that the AAPL will survive either.

    On this issue, all we have to do is look at other industries that have been offshored. There are some industries that were so completely decimated that you cannot find anyone in the United States that can actually do those trades anymore, complete destruction of the field. We cannot even bring those jobs back because we don't have anyone who can do them, we would need foreigners to train Americans to do a job that Americans wrote the book on.

    The only fields that can be off shored, that are surviving relatively unscathed, are trades that legally require something that can only be obtained by a resident of the country. Things like a license. Attorneys can be offshored easily, but they aren't because they need a license. Paralegals are also doing fairly well, also licensed. CPAs and other tax professionals would be incredibly easy to offshore, but they need to be licensed. Engineers should also be easy to offshore, but they are licensed as well. Indeed, can you name a trade that can be offshored, that isn't licensed, that still exists? I can not think of any. For years landmen really couldn't be offshored because we needed to be physically present, but that is very rapidly changing as everything moves online. It will not be more than a few years before nearly every single member of the AAPL can be offshored, field will be first and in-house land departments will rapidly follow. The time to do something about it is now, not when we are all unemployed.

    ------------------------------
    Marcus Brown, RPL CPLTA CNSA
    Independent Field Landman
    Brown Land Services, LLC
    361-728-5453
    Marcus_r_brown@hotmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 26 days ago
    Marcus,

    This is not the first time I have heard comments similar to the ones you have just made and they are based on totally legitimate concerns.

    First of all, let me restate my disclosure from my original post, I am not currently in an active roll with AAPL so the statements I make are only my two cents worth.

    I don't have salary data for Landmen in India or Pakistan handy so I will take you at your word on those salaries of $175/month.  But I would ask you if those workers are employees of a company or are they independent contractors like we have here in the US?  If they are employees then perhaps the employer would see value in AAPL membership for their employees and pay for it like most companies here in the US pay for their employee memberships.  If they are independent contractors then something else would have to happen, I don't have enough information.  Either way, the "Land" business is changing...AAPL can either adapt to survive, or wither away on the vine.

    International outsourcing Landwork oversees is free trade and I am not opposed to free trade!  There is nothing AAPL can do to stop it!  The only thing I see that could stop it would be to prohibit land records from being exported.  Could we wall off the US internet like China or North Korea?  Besides, how do companies who have people oversees bring their work product to current?  There are Landmen in the courthouses checking those last few records that have not been uploaded yet.  I can also assure you that shortly before closing of a large transaction, there are Landmen at the courthouse looking one last time for any last second lien or conveyance before the money is wired.

    By the way, if you are worried about oversees Landmen, what do you think about the Landmen in the cloud?  I'm talking about Artificial Intelligence.  Do you think AAPL or anyone else can stop that?  The secret in both of these cases is to find something necessary that cannot be outsourced or done remotely and do it well.  The "Land" business is changing...individuals can either adapt to survive or wither away on the vine.

    As to your question about licensed professions, why can't they be outsourced provided there is not a residency requirement?  Why can't an attorney licensed in Texas live and work in India or Pakistan?  I know attorneys licensed in Texas that live in Colorado, Louisiana, and Florida.  Outside of litigation, most legal work does not require physically being in a specific location.  How about Doctors?  Radiologists oversees have been reading X-Rays of US patients for years.  Are you familiar with the Da Vinci Surgical Robot?  The Surgeon's Console does not have to be in the same location as the patient.  As for unlicensed trades, not all states require Automotive Service Technicians to be licensed, although I guess some of the work could be done robotically.

    Please don't think I am in any way trying to belittle you or your concerns.  I'm just pointing out the reality that the world is changing and we all need to adapt to survive or wither away on the vine.

    While I am here, I want to address the concerns of Billy Lemons as best I can.  From what I understand from your posts here (forgive me if I am wrong) you are concerned about the definition of Landwork and how the proposed changes will impact your ability to get insurance.  First of all, I would say from personal experience that while the AAPL "Resources" vendors are usually a great place to start, sometimes I have found better options elsewhere.  Also, I don't have an understanding as to your specific needs.  I could be wrong but I would think expanding the definition of Landwork would thereby expand the services covered by the insurance.  Either way, if there is a demand for the product, the market will work it out over time.  Now, as to your comment regarding not having 100 cooks in the kitchen, then we get to the argument that AAPL is run by a small group of individuals in a smoke-filled room during one of their whisky parties.

    I also received comments from a couple of other folks who I don't see in this thread so I will presume they replied privately.  They also had legitimate concerns and I want to take an opportunity to address one of those specifically, but I will do that later.

    Glen Mauldin

    ------------------------------
    Glen Mauldin CPL
    Houston TX
    (281) 635-9661
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 26 days ago
    Glen Mauldin is indeed wrong about my concerns.

    What I have written in this and the one or more other threads regarding the so-called "proposed" changes to the bylaws is pretty straightforward and easy to read and understand and I think adequately describes my concerns. (Though the so-called "proposed" new bylaws are not straightforward or adequate for their intended purposes.) So, I won't bother repeating myself or attempting to clarify something that is already clear.

    ------------------------------
    Billy K. Lemons
    Pres. / Principal Consultant
    Resource Analytical & Management Group, LLC
    Mailing: P.O. Box 632400
    Nacogdoches, Texas 75963-2400
    Email: billy.k.lemons@resourceanalytical.com
    844.936.2400 Ext. 1101 Office
    844.936.2401 Facsimile

    ResourceAnalytical.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 26 days ago
    My apologies Billy for only looking at your posts in this thread, I did not realize there were 108 others.

    You share the same concerns as those who replied privately.

    Glen


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    Glen Mauldin CPL
    Houston TX
    (281) 635-9661
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 26 days ago
    So far as I know, there is only one other recent thread on this topic, that being Proposed By-Laws/Membership Policy, and the reason I wrote, "one or more other threads regarding the so-called "proposed" changes to the bylaws." That thread was the original recent thread. For whatever reason I'm not aware of, this second thread was started covering essentially the same topic. But I see no problem with that.

    I'm happy to see whoever wishes to post their opinions here publicly do so, particularly those who aren't afraid to stand up for what they believe to be right and don't just automatically bend the knee, even if I don't agree with what they think or say, provided of course that they post in a grown-up way. It's good to be able to see, read and respond responsibly to what others think and believe.

    ------------------------------
    Billy K. Lemons
    Pres. / Principal Consultant
    Resource Analytical & Management Group, LLC
    Mailing: P.O. Box 632400
    Nacogdoches, Texas 75963-2400
    Email: billy.k.lemons@resourceanalytical.com
    844.936.2400 Ext. 1101 Office
    844.936.2401 Facsimile

    ResourceAnalytical.com
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 22 days ago
    Billy,

    Your involvement and that of Marcus is to be commended.  AAPL Leadership does need to hear from its members and I would emphasize your point about keeping it grown-up and professional.  That is exactly why this forum was created.  And yes, AAPL Leadership does watch what is going on in here.

    You express your opinion on many issues, and that is great...I may not agree with everything you say, but that puts you in the same company as many Landmen I have the utmost respect for and my wife (not a bad place to be).  It looks like there are two or three other threads that address the bylaws issues that I was unaware of and those other threads do bring up legitimate concerns that should be considered and addressed one way or another.

    If I remember correctly the only non AAPL staff member with more posts than you is Rutlege Dees, but Marcus is close behind you.

    Glen

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    Glen Mauldin CPL
    Houston TX
    (281) 635-9661
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 22 days ago

    Glen Mauldin,

    Your commendation or that of others is of no value to me and is misplaced, just as is your previous false statement that I have posted 108 times on landnews.

    I am not here to seek or accept commendation or approval from anyone, particularly from anyone in AAPL leadership, past or present. I am only here to try to sway the votes of my fellow landmen, the vast majority of whom, like me, do not own tuxedos but who have to live and work with bylaws written by those who do.

    My apologies to other readers and participants here if any of my points or posts appear to be repeats, but I never know if or when my submissions will actually be posted here.



    ------------------------------
    Billy K. Lemons
    Pres. / Principal Consultant
    Resource Analytical & Management Group, LLC
    Mailing: P.O. Box 632400
    Nacogdoches, Texas 75963-2400
    Email: billy.k.lemons@resourceanalytical.com
    844.936.2400 Ext. 1101 Office
    844.936.2401 Facsimile

    https://ResourceAnalytical.com
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 26 days ago
    Glen,

    I agree with us having to adapt to survive in this digital age, but I don't agree that the adaptation should be us giving up everything digital to international contractors. The licensing with residency requirement wouldn't impact cloud or online resources, it would just require a resident licensed landman if they are to be used for oil and gas.

    I would also like to add a couple points that were brought up to me privately, not necessarily related to your comment Glen:

    1) If we are going to support landman licensing, we need to agree on what a landman actually is. In another post, it was pointed out that hard mineral landman are excluded in the current definition, that might be intentional, not sure. Haven't seen a good explanation on why we made that change.

    2) ​Identity theft is a big problem now days, and will, I am sure, be even worse in the future. An interesting comment was made to me about landman contractors in India or Pakistan having access to personal information of land owners including their social security numbers and how that could be a huge risk if land owners knew that their personal information was going to be shipped all over the globe with minimal or non existent information security. Licensed landmen could have a requirement to take CE courses on properly handling personal information of land owners, maybe similar to our current ethics CE requirement. I know that accountants have an information security CE requirement, I haven't checked, but I wouldn't be surprised to see attorneys also having that requirement.

    ------------------------------
    Marcus Brown, RPL CPLTA CNSA
    Independent Field Landman
    Brown Land Services, LLC
    361-728-5453
    Marcus_r_brown@hotmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 22 days ago
    Marcus,

    All excellent points!

    One concern I personally have about licensing is that it is not we the Landmen/AAPL that have to agree on what a Landman is, it is what the 50 individual states and their courts tell us what a Landman is.  One of the big issues AAPL was concerned about in Ohio and in other states was being put under the same statutes that govern Real Estate Brokerage.  It sounds totally reasonable to someone who doesn't understand just how different it truly is.

    My concern about a residency requirement for licensing is that if I am working for a company in a role where the play crosses a state line, can I only work the portion of the play in my resident state?  I think the question would apply to both employees and contractors because there are no guarantees that employees would be exempted from the requirement.

    One thing I realized by being involved with AAPL for many years was that the membership base is very broad in scope of duties, a Field Landman's needs are different than those in A&D/Business Development.  There are a lot of things AAPL has to consider when taking a stance on a particular issue.  Sometimes AAPL has to stay neutral because we have members on BOTH sides of the issue.

    Glen

    ------------------------------
    Glen Mauldin CPL
    Houston TX
    (281) 635-9661
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 21 days ago
    Regardless of what some, including leadership, might assure to the contrary (note my use of the word "might," because I do not actually know one way or another if anyone is actually making any such assurances), the literal construction of the so-called "proposed" new bylaws does, indeed, exclude hard mineral landmen, who, I'm told by others, include many loyal current and even long-time AAPL members.

    Neither my firm nor I nor to my knowledge any landmen I've ever met do hard minerals landwork. However, as this conversation has developed, I have been in communication with some landmen who either do hard minerals landwork or have landman friends in the business who do hard mineral landwork, and they have expressed grave concern over the exclusion. They also seem like very intelligent people who know what they are talking about.

    The apparent exclusion of these hard mineral landmen, include without limitation any loyal current and even long-time AAPL members, is one of the principal reasons I will vote "No" on the official adoption of the new bylaws and am encouraging others to do so, as well.

    ------------------------------
    Billy K. Lemons
    Pres. / Principal Consultant
    Resource Analytical & Management Group, LLC
    Mailing: P.O. Box 632400
    Nacogdoches, Texas 75963-2400
    Email: billy.k.lemons@resourceanalytical.com
    844.936.2400 Ext. 1101 Office
    844.936.2401 Facsimile

    https://ResourceAnalytical.com
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 20 days ago
    All,

    Not sure what this new requirement is about - accommodating contractors worldwide - but we have a fiduciary responsibility as an operator, to protect the names, addresses, SSN/TIN of all owners.   We should be honoring that and without the security that we know many do not have, we shouldn't be sending info out, local or foreign.   Because of our own litigious society, we do not even share info with family members.   Like it or not, there are dishonest people out there and we guard this info carefully.   In fact, on our accounting system, there is not access to SSN/TIN except by those employees who truly need to see it.

    With regard to licensing - STOP.    This is discussed ad nauseum on a regular basis and every state will have their own special requirements, etc.   Not only will this be unproductive, it will be a waste of money by the AAPL.  How about giving your members a hard pass on dues this year and keep AAPL spending to a minimum.  Whether independent contractors or in-house Land, there have been layoffs, salary reductions, benefits reductions.   Instead of AAPL continuing to do all they can to make it harder, why not help our own in times of need such as we have not seen before with COVID-19.

    Thank you.

    ------------------------------
    Terri Kenney
    Land Manager
    Crimson Resource Management Corp.
    Denver CO
    (303) 534-7716
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 27 days ago
    Very well put Glen Mauldin! Thank you
    Greg Jessup, CPL, AAPL Secretary 2002-2003

    ------------------------------
    Greg Jessup, CPL
    CEO
    Jessup Energy Land, LLC
    Roanoke, Texas
    972-571-8198
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 04-27-2020 10:41
    Marcus:

    You are correct that the proposed change to the definition of "landwork" is to include those who work in the renewable and alternative energy sectors. But the reason is not an attempt to attract additional members, but rather to allow current members who transition to work in those sectors to retain their active member status in AAPL, as well as their CPL, RPL and RL designations.

    You make it clear that you do not feel you are well represented by AAPL. As a career (39 years) field landman, and former Chair of the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee, I would respectfully disagree with you. In what ways would you like to see AAPL improve? If you would like to discuss this offline, feel free to contact me at any time (curt.horne@outlook.com; 281-389-9635 cell)

    I would like to see AAPL develop education programs for the additional energy sectors, and would not be opposed the seeing some of that material included in the CPL and RPL exams. The idea is to develop well-rounded landmen.

    As far as the change to the student membership program, all of the current EM/PLM programs are accredited by AAPL, and membership for students in those programs is free. They also qualify to apply for AAPL scholarships. This is more of a housekeeping change that supports those programs and their students.

    I am writing this as an AAPL member, but not as a representative of the Association or its leadership.

    Take care,

    Curt


    ------------------------------
    Curtis Horne CPL
    (713) 225-6700
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 04-29-2020 10:09
    Curt and William,

    You are correct that I do not feel that oil, gas field work and hard mineral and coal work in general are well represented in the AAPL. I really believe that we can do better and that doing better would be a benefit to everyone:

    Education:
    Courses available on the AAPL website through the end of the year:
    In house oil and gas courses: 16
    In house coal courses: 2 - Contract negotiation
    In house hard mineral courses: 2 - Contract negotiation
    In house new land work definitions: 2 - Contract negotiation
    Field oil and gas courses: 11
    Field coal courses: 0
    Field hard mineral courses: 0
    Field new land work definitions: 0
    We have accepted coal work for years at a minimum, maybe since inception, we have zero coal specific courses. We have accepted hard mineral work for years, maybe since inception, we have zero hard mineral specific courses. Given our educational support for coal and hard minerals, are we planning on supporting the new land work definitions with the same vigor? The field and in house oil and gas courses are all the same JOA, contract negotiation, surface use, HBP, WI/NRI calculation type courses that we have offered regularly since I joined almost 15 years ago. Not a single course is on a new topic. As part of the 2017 Field Landman Taskforce, I was asked about ideas for education courses, and within a few minutes I came up with a list of around 40 topics, based on my experience, that would be useful to a field landman.

    Monetizing Education:
    I am not opposed to the AAPL charging for education, indeed I think that they should, but these costs oftentimes are actually borne by field members as we almost never get compensated or reimbursed for these costs unlike a high percentage of in house members. The AAPL needs to sensitive to the fact that it's field membership cannot afford to shell out hundreds of dollars per course, plus travel costs, plus hotel expenses, plus meal expenses. I believe that the AAPL has done a great job listening to it's field membership on this issue and has started offering webinars for many courses, and many of these webinars appear to be lower in cost compared to the on site courses. I would like encourage the AAPL to consider reworking it's CE code charge for third party CE webinars that various law firms, associations, and others like Enervus/Drilling Info do as a free service as many of these offerings no longer have a AAPL CE code because they do not want to pay money to offer something for free. Additionally, I think that it is great idea that the AAPL is doing the 2020 Annual Meeting as a webinar, and allowing free access will be of great benefit to the members who are unemployed and need CE to maintain their certifications. Further, I have received notice that the AAPL is offering 10 webinars on it's website for free to members, I don't know that they should always be free, but while members are unemployed is a good time to do it. This is one area that the AAPL has really turned around and I haven't heard of anyone who is unhappy with the change. A++ from me.

    Legal, legislative updates, and legislative and judicial representation:
    How much support does the AAPL give to these activities for coal or hard minerals? I don't have any actual numbers in front of me, but my suspicion is that it is not more than a few percent, if it isn't zero. Given our support in those areas, are we planning on supporting the new land work definitions with the same vigor? We should have all of our members on an even playing field.

    Outsourcing of field land jobs to India and Pakistan:
    Curt, I know that I may be preaching to the choir with you, but this is turning into a major issue. Based on email solicitations that I regularly receive from India, I have previously estimated that there are around 9,000 full time energy land title contractors working in India and Pakistan as of 2019, that work for for American oil and gas companies or closely affiliated industries. As best as I can tell, these contractors earn an average monthly salary that is lower than my day rate for a single day, the average pay rate that I found was $175 a MONTH, even lower for entry level. Two current AAPL members, one being a field landman, the other a title attorney, neither of which I am not going to name, run full fledged brokerages in India and at least one brokerage is full service, offering runsheets, due diligence, title opinions, and GIS mapping. That is just what I know about, I am sure that there are more out there as they lay pretty low for obvious reasons. It is unconfirmed, but the general assumption is that all of the courthouse indexing available on any number of internet indexes is done in India. A number of those online indexes are currently working on indexing mineral and conveyancing information in an effort to allow a land tech with very basic land knowledge to assemble a mineral or surface runsheet in a matter of minutes from anywhere in the world. This title work is a major portion of what the field membership does, obviously at a much higher quality level. The only thing that the AAPL has done in regards to international outsourcing is to extend AAPL membership to them. This needs to change, we are the American Association of Professional Landmen, I don't mind counting that as North American, but we shouldn't be inviting corporate bean counters to eradicate half of the Association. I personally think that the blow back that we are going to receive from mineral and royalty owners and complaints to regulators and legislators is going to be severe because your average land owner whose mineral ownership is completely messed up and is having to research and prove their ownership, on their own dime, to an oil company is going to, rightfully or wrongfully, lump every one of us into the same basket with these minimally skilled people half the world away.

    Landman licensing:
    This is admittedly a hot button issue with field landmen as most of us are generally not interested in government regulation or interference within the industry, and I am in no way representing that my opinion on the issue is representative of field landmen. That said, I have made an argument for, and personally support landman licensing with American residency, work performance, and work certification requirements. A license that requires the title, leasing, commercial mineral/royalty buying, and RoW work be done in the USA, be performed to a certain standard, and be certified as conforming could virtually eliminate international outsourcing. Additionally, we can ensure that ethics are being maintained through a publicly facing, visible channel so that mineral owners who are solicited by predatory mineral and royalty buyers or block busting operations have an avenue to take action, we all have had to deal with these people, and we all have had to deal with land owners burned by them. I have no doubt that the AAPL could formalize a licensing template for States to implement, which would reduce the instance of the recent licensing debacles that threw the entire industry into uncertainty. To date, as far as I am aware, the AAPL has completely opposed all field landman licensing regulations. Eventually all States will have landman licensing, it is much better for us to steer that process to our benefit than to oppose it, be excluded from the process, and be left to pick up the pieces when it blows up on us.

    Land work definitions:
    I don't mind the expansion of land work definition, I think that it is logical, but if we are adding definitions that we aren't actually going to support, and for no reason other than helping current RL/RPL/CPL maintain certifications, why wouldn't we add grocery sacking to our land definition, they walk on land, and it is what we are all going to be doing at negative thirty seven dollar oil. The vast majority of landmen that are having to transition to other lines of work are not going to be able to go into alternative energy or RoW. Quite a few field people appear to be going into real estate. Maybe instead of expanding land definitions, for no reason other than maintaining certifications, we should look at recognizing that this business is very cyclical and we crash much harder than we expand, so some allowance for the  cycles is in order, maybe 50 or 75% of the usual years of land work within a given recertification period. I think that we can all agree that these cycles hit contract field people much harder than in house employees.

    Certifications:
    1) To my knowledge, the AAPL is the only professional or trade association in America that requires a college degree for any certification where a college degree is not legally required, as part of a government license, to perform the job. Current corporate guidelines are resoundingly against the requirement of college degrees for jobs where a college degree is not required to perform the job. Currently, there are, and have been, a number of civil lawsuits related to college degree requirements for jobs where a college degree is not legally required as these requirements are viewed as exclusionary acts. The U.S. Supreme Court in Griggs v. Duke Power Co. ruled that certain education requirements and intelligence tests, when used as conditions of employment, acted to exclude racial minority job applicants, did not relate to job performance, and therefore were prohibited. The Court, in Griggs, held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited the use of employment practices that have the effect of excluding racial minorities even if the employer did not intend to discriminate, unless the employer can prove that the practice is related to job performance. By virtue of the AAPL enforcing the rule requiring a college degree for a CPL, any company that requires a CPL as part of their application process or to maintain employment for any position where a degree is not legally required would, probably unwittingly, be almost certainly committing an illegal act. I think that we would all like to see RPLs and CPLs be required for high level employment or contracts and I think that it would boost the value of the CPL, and the RPL/RL as down level certifications, if it could legally be used by employers and brokers to pre-screen applicants for job related experience and knowledge. This is also something that disproportionately impacts field landmen, according to the 2018 AAPL compensation survey, field landmen, who are members of the AAPL, cannot get a CPL because of a college degree at three times the rate of in house landmen. The actual rate of impact is almost certainly higher as I think that AAPL membership percentage is likely lower among field landmen and of those field landmen who are not AAPL members, the percentage without a qualifying degree is almost certainly higher, where the percentage of in house landmen without a qualifying degree, who are not AAPL members, is likely similar to current AAPL in house membership.
    2) I have long thought that the RPL and CPL exam questions were more geared to in house work as there are exceptionally few questions that are exclusively field related and there are a large number of questions that are exclusively in house related. When I sat for my CPLTA exam, I wondered to myself why most of the exam questions wouldn't be on our RPL or CPL exams, they had four distinct sections: onshore, OCS, Federal/BLM/Indian, and Eastern States. The questions were a good mix of what we could call field and in house questions, and it was much harder than our exams. Indeed, I think that any CPLTA could take our CPL exam and pass without much, if any, study, but I doubt that most CPLs could pass the CPLTA without significant additional education. As the flag ship certification, from the flagship energy land association, that is not a good position to be in. As a footnote, Steptoe & Johnson is completely rewriting the CPLTA exam and study guide for NALTA to make it even tougher, and rumor has it that Steptoe & Johnson will require that their title attorneys pass that exam as part of their employment. I don't see why the AAPL couldn't make a similar partnership with major exploration companies and brokers, enlist their help with writing the exam, with the expectation that those entities would require, or at least weight, the certifications. For comparison, the CPLTA study guide is currently about 5" thick, our study guide is about an inch thick.

    Performance and Payment Bonds:
    These bonds are standard across numerous industries that use contractors, and are even required by the government for certain contracts. They have an average cost of $3.75 per $1000 insured, so a $100,000 project would cost about $375 to insure. The bond guarantees that the contractor will perform the contract, and that the contractor will be paid for completing the contract. Further, the bonds also track performance similar to a credit report, people and entities that fail to do what they are supposed to do will be apparent by the higher charge for the bond. It would be nice if the AAPL would advocate for and/or offer something like this for it's membership. I think that a lot of brokers, companies, and field landmen would like something like this, especially if it could be done inexpensively.


    ------------------------------
    Marcus Brown, RPL CPLTA CNSA
    Independent Field Landman
    Brown Land Services, LLC
    361-728-5453
    Marcus_r_brown@hotmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 29 days ago
    Edited by AAPL 29 days ago
    I've held my comments regarding the certification and membership changes for a while now, but it's time to dynamite the situation. All membership changes are to increase membership, period. The explanation of being inclusive to make sure as many as possible engaged in the energy industry are held to the Code of Ethics is a terribly shallow argument. The amount of complaints sent to AAPL and/or acted upon by the Ethics Committee as a percentage of membership is very small.

    Membership has been weakened to the point that anyone who pumps gas in their car can qualify (of course, there is far less pumping the last several weeks). When membership requirements changed to allow title checkers/agents, but still excluded title analysts and division order analysts still does not make sense. Although the division order analysts and title analysts have their own associations and many times much more robust education programs. Allowing those who run title only opened up membership to abstractors who now qualify as members per the changes despite working real property more than mineral checks most of the time. ROW agents and surface landmen were allowed to be members and apply for certification.

    The Certification Committee, who reviews all applications for certification, are instructed to approve applications that meet the minimum requirements of "landwork" even if the work is only sort of "landwork". The Certification Committee and Membership Committee were approving  applications membership and certification for title analysts, division order analysts, ROW agents, abstractors and any other applicants who could find sponsors and creatively describe their jobs to fit the parameters as far back as 10 years ago. I've heard the discussion from several people that if Certification applicants could pass the test then they should be certified.

    From what I have observed and attempted to negotiate, solar farms are not in the best interest of oil and gas development. Yes, we are in a big slump, but allowing solar panels to cover immense amounts of surface acreage with minimal set-aside acreage for potential drillsites will probably not encourage future oil and gas development of that acreage. Also, what are the long term consequences of solar panels covering the surface for 30+ years. Large acreage tracts have been made inaccessible and unusable for anything for 30+ years.  Yes, I understand alternative energy sources are necessary, but solar seems to have more prohibitive actions that involve large tracts of surface acreage.

    To wrap this up, AAPL wants as many members as possible and wants the membership covered by the Code of Ethics and an added bonus is to get as many members certified as possible. All of these actions should be advantageous  should licensing rear its ugly head in the future. It's not about qualified applicants for membership. It's about numbers of members and it's not about qualified applicants for certification, it's "can they pass the test".



    ------------------------------
    Iris Bradley CPL/ESA
    J. P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
    Dallas TX
    (214) 965-3282
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 04-27-2020 10:45
    Marcus,

    The AAPL board looked at this issue very closely and spent a lot of time while making these by-law changes. Over the past year many board members have been hearing directly from AAPL members that they were struggling to find traditional oil and gas land work. Many members had to take jobs in Wind, Solar etc. If you are an AAPL member and had to take a job in Wind Energy, under the old by laws you were no longer performing "Land Work" as it was defined under the by-laws. In order to be an active member you must be engaged in "Land Work" as defined by AAPL, so you could no longer be an active member. This was not an attempt to find new members, it was an attempt to make sure all AAPL members could maintain their status as an active member or as a RPL/CPL in the event they couldn't find traditional "Land Work".

    As for your comment on being tone deaf to field landmen, I would encourage you to become involved in AAPL if you feel your needs or wants are not being met. The board of AAPL is very diverse, with a lot of independent landmen, brokers and company landmen. A lot of time, thought, and discussion goes into making these decisions, they are not taken lightly.

    Thanks,

    ------------------------------
    William Boone CPL
    Wildcat Resources, Inc.
    Wichita KS
    (913) 832-4583
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 04-29-2020 10:03

    On a closely-related matter, AAPL's formal definition of "Landwork" affects not only qualification for membership, but also affects qualification for general liability and E&O coverage under AAPL's group insurance program brokered by AAPL partner Roach Howard Smith & Barton.
    Last May, 2019, in looking for new coverage for our firm, I made contact with the RHSB broker individual listed on the AAPL website, at which time he informed me by email, as follows, and I quote:

    "Note, we cannot write General Liability or Workers' Compensation coverage unless we also write Professional (E&O) Liability coverage. We can write E&O by itself. If your legal entity performs other than Landman work, then you would not be eligible for our coverages." (Emphasis added.)

    Since the insurance coverage was created by AAPL in partnership with the insurance company for AAPL members and AAPL-member-owned brokerages and other AAPL-member-owned legal entities, I assumed then and still do now that by "Landman work" he literally meant "Landwork" as formally defined by AAPL. If that is true, then that would mean that any AAPL member or AAPL-member-owned brokerage or other AAPL-member-owned legal entity that provides any kind of service other than those included in AAPL's formal definition of "Landwork" does not qualify for AAPL's general liability and E&O insurance offered via its partner RHSB. That came as a big surprise, since to my knowledge, a large number of AAPL members and AAPL-member-owned brokerages and other AAPL-member-owned legal entities provide their clients with services other than those included in AAPL's formal definition of "Landwork." For example, aside from providing "Landwork" as formally defined by AAPL, large numbers of AAPL members and AAPL-member-owned brokerages and other AAPL-member-owned legal entities, perhaps even most or even close to all, provide their clients with services such as easement/R-O-W sale and acquisition services, GIS services, division order services, environmental site assessment services. Some have lawyers on staff who provide legal services.

    If the RHSB rep was correct that any AAPL member individual or AAPL-member-owned brokerage or other AAPL-member-owned entity that provides services other than AAPL's formally-defined "Landwork" does not qualify for the AAPL general liability and E&O insurance program, then many if not most or perhaps even close to all do not qualify for the coverage, perhaps even some who already have the cover, and that is something that needs to be reviewed.



    ------------------------------
    Billy K. Lemons
    Pres. / Principal Consultant
    Resource Analytical & Management Group, LLC
    Mailing: P.O. Box 632400
    Nacogdoches, Texas 75963-2400
    Email: billy.k.lemons@resourceanalytical.com
    844.936.2400 Ext. 1101 Office
    844.936.2401 Facsimile

    ResourceAnalytical.com
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 04-29-2020 10:10
    Edited by Billy Lemons 04-29-2020 11:39
    Sorry, accidental double post.


  • 23.  RE: New Bylaws

    Posted 22 days ago
    Will and Glen have made excellent points as to why the bylaws proposal should be approved, and they have summarized my support for it as well.
    As a committee chair, I was present as a non-voting member at the board of directors meeting in March. If you have not read the AAPL email from April 30th sent to all members with the message from Jay Beavers, you should. It sums up perfectly what transpired. There was lengthy discussion publicly and privately over the course of the two days. Many concerns that came up were abated, once additional contemplation and clarification were offered. In the end, after thoughtful debate and consideration, the motion easily passed.
    In recent years, I have been able to become involved in AAPL at the national level. Before that, I had times when I shared the same skeptical opinion as some other members as to these meetings being a "good ol' boys club" and how they can best frivolously spend the association's dollars for their own interests. I often voiced cynical thoughts privately and semi-publicly with others.
    However, through experience, I have observed first-hand that the board of directors is comprised of field landmen, company landmen, business owners, employees, managers, and executives from all over the country, all with different opinions and experiences. They have plenty of disagreements and spirited arguments. So I can say, with clear conscious, that if a motion gets passed by that diverse group, it has been discussed and represented well, and has been passed with the best intent of the association. The overall organization and system are not perfect, but there are well-intended AAPL members trying to make it so.

    ------------------------------
    Jerris Johnson CPL
    Land Manager
    Independent
    Birmingham AL
    (405) 938-6139
    ------------------------------