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Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

  • 1.  Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 05-29-2020 09:12

    My company is working on a project for streamlining the land process. (document creation process, more specifically-with the intention to be entirely digital from presentation to signing)

    *A question was brought up about adoption of a program that would allow documents to be locked with the exception of certain section (Grantor, Land description, etc.)   

    Some programs mentioned: Goformz, PDF programs, Bim360.

     

    Does anyone have any recent experience or input on what has worked the best/worst for them or their land department in the past?

    Our department would greatly appreciate any and all feedback.

     

    Thank you in advance for the help on this!

    Misty A Kidd, RPL

    Landman



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    Misty Kidd RPL
    Equitrans Midstream Corporation

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  • 2.  RE: Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 05-29-2020 14:57
    Misty,

    What works best for a land department is an experienced landman negotiator. The worst of what I have seen is operators that will not negotiate contracts and agreements with others; they submit their contracts and agreements and say "take it or leave it". In many cases they have force pooling statues available to them and, therefore, do not feel a need to negotiate a contract or agreement. Non-operators have few, if any, rights under a force pooling order. Therefore, I think this approach to pooling working interest owners is a really bad idea.

    As to what your company is pursuing, how would an outside company negotiate with a program that doesn't allow for input or modification to its contracts and agreements? What does this tell you about dealing with this company (it would be a warning sign in my book to watch out, and not to hesitate to back out, if possible). What if a number of the provisions in these contracts and agreements are unfair and unreasonable to the non-operators? In my opinion, this program approach is also a really bad idea.

    The best approach to pooling working interest owners is for companies/individuals to employ in-house landmen to negotiate AAPL and other industry model forms whenever and wherever possible. These model forms represent accepted industry customs and practices associated with the drilling, completion, production, operation and P&A of wells as well as provide a starting point for further negotiations to customize the agreements for each individual deal. Industry model form agreements allow for input and for negotiated modifications which is essential to win-win deal negotiations.

    The AAPL model forms, and several other industry forms, are available to AAPL members through the AAPL website. Some of the contracts are free, where as a license is required for other contracts. Therefore, many contract forms are already available to AAPL members and non-AAPL members, and several other model forms will soon be available, which should eliminate the unnecessary step of creating your own contract forms.

    Misty, I hope your company will reconsider developing its own company forms, and to employ in its negotiations the AAPL and other industry model forms that are available through AAPL. I believe you will win if you do.

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    Dorsey Roach CPL
    Oklahoma City OK
    (405) 301-5068
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  • 3.  RE: Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 30 days ago
    Dorsey,
    Thank you for the reply.  As a landman, your input is valuable because it reminds me of the big picture and right (ethical) approach to take when negotiating.
    With that, I sincerely appreciate your view and agree.  The days of the standard boilerplate lease forms (offering no changes) are pretty much over.  Individual attention given to mineral interest owners and surface owners alike by trained landmen helps to reestablish trust and create rapport which in turn, is part of changing the way the public views oil and gas development on the upstream side and midstream end of things.  As landmen, we are the face of the industry, so our openness to being flexible with terms, sincerity, and professionalism when dealing with the public is more important now that it has ever been.  I believe most companies are seeing that when it comes to terms presented in the documents.

    In review of my post, I should have been more thorough in my inquiry.  I work for a midstream company (I have done oil and gas leasing in the past) and my project team is looking for a database to use that will lock the contents/terms of the document with the exception of items that would change in the "body" of the agreement such as Grantor, Address, Land description, Notary blocks, etc.
    *One that can be pulled from a spreadsheet would work well (similar to a mail merge)*

    The contract discussed does allow "addendum" terms (not part of the body of the agreement similar to most contracts) which will allow for specific terms to be requested by the surface owner and added to the contract itself.  Our department is very landowner and community friendly.  We work with each one independently allowing them a chance to discuss special needs for their property.​

    The inquiry here is more one of program functionality for the intended purposes.  There are a number of programs out there and I wanted to reach out to other experienced landmen here to gain insight on their opinions regarding those programs.
    Some of the programs discussed: Goformz, Locked PDF documents, and Bim360.
    *The addendum would be kept separate and would not require a locked document format.  In addition, the use of the addendum would insure that none of the special terms for the landowner gets missed in the body of the agreement.  The intention (among standardizing the main terms for operations) is to prevent typo mistakes or any other mistakes in the main body of the agreement.

    If you have any additional input, it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you again for your help on this,
    Misty A Kidd



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    Misty Kidd RPL
    Equitrans Midstream Corporation
    Saint Clairsville OH
    (740) 576-7001
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  • 4.  RE: Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 23 days ago
    Misty,

    You are correct about locking the basic document and any seasoned Landman should know that.  I once tore lease forms off a pad in the early eighties (1980s) and put three of them, separated by reusable carbon paper, into my typewriter and filled in the blanks.  Now, back then one might change the LOR, with Lessor's initials in the margin, but other than that, all negotiations were documented on an Exhibit "A" (this was in Wyoming, I know, the further east you go they become Addendums).  Then, in 1983 I bought a computer which my Father told me would never have a place in the industry, until I convinced him otherwise.  He also gave me a hard time for buying an electric typewriter, "How will you type a lease on the hood of a truck in a wheat field?" he would ask, but that's another story.  

    Anyway, my point is that in the early days of computing, as a 25 y/o ready to change the world, I assumed that now, Exhibits or Addendums were obsolete, we can just change the lease for each issue for each Lessor within the body of the lease - and we did just that. Chaos ensued, as by doing so, every lease had to be read word for word and someone had to figure out what was different from the original script.  The Lease Analysts were furious & rightfully so.  We learned our lesson well, and as a Crew Chief for most of the past 25 years in the field, I never let anyone make a change to the body of the lease as doing so creates more work and  potentially, missed obligations.

    Yes, we negotiate everything, that's what we get paid for, and those negotiations are actuated on additional pages of a lease making them very apparent to all parties involved.  At the end of the day, we learned we should never make a co-worker's job more difficult by trying to be overly clever with our computer skills.


    Peter F. Lockhart, CPL

    1135 Shady Lane
    Ashland, Ohio 44805
    (419) 651-0105






  • 5.  RE: Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 22 days ago
    Peter,
    Thank you for the reply.
    Your stories literally made me lol; however, it does reinforce the issue and why it is important.
    If you don't mind...I may share your stories at our next meeting.

    Thanks again for the feedback.
    Misty Kidd :)​

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    Misty Kidd RPL
    Equitrans Midstream Corporation
    Saint Clairsville OH
    (740) 576-7001
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  • 6.  RE: Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 21 days ago
    Peter

    We have the same background. I remember almost the same things you spoke of concerning the 80's and forward. Headerman Producer 88 lease pads and all.  :-)

    I still will not allow any changes to the form that we have now, it may be computer generated but you just do not change the form, period. If things need changing, we have the Exhibit A, have at it if you need to add something. I usually place my change in royalty on the Exhibit A along with the description of the property.

    The same is true in my real estate business. The Real Estate Commissions allows NO changes to their forms, period. If you need to change or clarify something, we had Addendums for that work.

    Here's to the ole days and the way it should still be done today.

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    Donald Riley
    Riley Land Service
    Laurel MS
    (601) 498-0925 Ext glenn
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  • 7.  RE: Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 20 days ago
    Well, as to form leases and an apparent attitude from a lot of brokers I see on this thread, may I offer two points. The first is that no matter how hard one insists on only their forms and no editing unless such is in an addendum / exhibit, I suggest such attitude is unnecessary and not as productive as one might think. You can lock the forms all day long, but this really only works against pedestrian mineral owners but almost never with the professional mineral owners and well experienced land owners. I can show up with a 20 page "OXY" (substitute any large oil company) as lessee form (and one might notice the "as lessor" forms are quite different from their "as lessee" forms) only to have the person or attorney simply provide "their" form - not subject to any real negotiation nonsense. Then you got to go over, line by line, both formats and try to open negotiations. On the other hand, the usual practice in OK, for instance, is to offer all the landowners a one and half page absolute bare-bones oil, gas and mineral lease which is nothing but a stripped down producer's 88 / 80 old lease forms with just enough to make it legal, but offering a mere fraction of what any of us would want to protect our rights if those were our minerals. That is really un-ethical. That leads me to second point. As just stated, taking advantage of unsophisticated mineral owners is a destructive and poisonous attitude in my opinion. As every single line in any decent oil and gas lease have mountains of litigation interpreting such concepts and covenants over 150 years by many states courts. So, we don't really pretend that most lessors know anything about what the heck they are signing, do we? For that very reason, the first, and singularly most important predicate I have found in over 40 years and as a third generation oilman, is one has to gain the trust of the mineral owner. If that takes going to their ranch and eating beans for several days with the rancher so he can "get to know you" then you do it. Sometimes after a face to face trust can be established quickly, some times not. Once trust has been established, then all negotiations and concerns can then be on the table and honest efforts to reach a deal are much more possible. If a contact landman is unable to establish trust, or is not confident in themselves enough to exude trust, I suggest finding another line of work. 

    Stephen T. Harris, CPL





  • 8.  RE: Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 19 days ago
    Regardless of extensive exhibits & addendums or the Lessor wanting to use his/her own lease or how friendly one is with a potential Lessor, if any Lessor lease or negotiated additional terms and scratched clauses stray too far from what the Client wants/needs to develop those minerals, there will be no deal, period.  Believe it or not, there are some potential deals out there that simply cannot be closed.

    Peter F. Lockhart, CPL

    1135 Shady Lane
    Ashland, Ohio 44805
    (419) 651-0105






  • 9.  RE: Best program(s) for creating locked form documents that certain sections open for manipulation.

    Posted 30 days ago
    Misty,
    This can easily be done in MS Word with form fields. I generally use a front page with the custom fields you mentioned that are filled in and then it will populate in all the relevant areas in your contract (or package). Feel free to shoot me an email or call and I can send you one to use as an example to or help you build one quickly.

    Adam Little
    817-715-0434
    Adam@goldenruleminerals.com

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    Adam Little
    Land Manager
    Norman OK
    (817) 715-0434
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