Drilling boom spurs demand for landmen

The natural gas drilling boom in the vast field underlying Tarrant County and many surrounding areas has sparked demand for landmen to handle everything from researching deeds to gaining signatures from homeowners. Lured by pay that can top $450 a day for experienced landmen -- more than $100,000 a year -- hundreds of workers, many of them young people, have flocked to North Texas for a chance to get a piece of the Barnett action.

"In the old days, you went out and talked to the farmer or rancher, came back and wrote up a report," said Terry McInturff, director of the Center for Energy Commerce at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. "You could do it so much more quickly. When you need, say, 160 acres for a well, a rancher with 10,000 acres is pretty sweet," he said.

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