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A Path to Getting Started as an Oil & Gas Lease Analyst: Monthly Lease Records Calendars

Another important qualification listed in most entry-level lease analyst job descriptions that can be learned without experience is knowledge of systems and procedures for monthly lease records calendars. In a typical oil company, that will include the monthly obligations calendar, the monthly payments calendar, and monthly expirations calendar.

If the job description states that this type of experience is helpful but not required, the job applicant without this experience can be hired. Experience may not be required, but knowledge about these calendars is critical. That means that the candidate with knowledge of the workflows in an oil and gas office and monthly lease records calendars in particular has a definite edge over the competition. The candidate who can speak confidently of the responsibilities and workflows in the lease records department and its interaction with other departments, using the correct lingo, stands a superior chance of getting the job.

Often the job description lists one of the duties of the lease analyst position as able to “manage monthly obligation, payment and exploration calendars.” Just being able to discuss all three calendars in an interview, and not just one or two, will score high points with the interviewer.

A monthly obligations calendar is a database-generated report that lists each lease with an obligation due by the oil company for a particular month. A monthly obligations calendar is generated each month usually for the month that is three months out ahead. For instance, on August 23, the obligations calendar could be generated for the entire month of November. The report will list every lease with any kind of obligation (as defined by the company) due to be delivered to the Lessor between the first and thirtieth of November.

Obligations typically include actions like preparing and sending a Partial Release of Oil and Gas Lease to the Lessor when the terms of the surface Pugh clause or depth Pugh clause requires it. The obligation date was entered into the lease data record when the event(s) triggering it have occurred, making it possible to identify the exact date the action must be taken. Or, an obligation can be an ownership change because a deed states a date the ownership of the Lessor expires and it transfers to another owner. The original Lessor owns only until a certain date, and then that ownership automatically passes to the person named in the deed as reversionary or successor owner.

Company records must be changed by the lease analyst to reflect that automatic change in ownership, but the company wouldn’t know about it unless it appeared in a monthly calendar ahead of the date it occurs. The change in ownership will change to whom notices must be delivered by the oil company according to the terms of the lease.

These are just a couple of examples of obligations that might be entered into a lease data record. Obligations are defined by the company, and can vary widely between companies.

The monthly payments calendar usually is much larger than the obligations calendar. The payments calendar will list every lease that has some type of lease payment due at any time during the month of November. Companies often will issue the payments more than 30 days before it is due, to make certain it is not late.

Monthly payments include annual rental payments, delayed bonus payments, and options to extend a lease past the end of its primary term by paying a pre-agreed amount of money.

The expirations calendar lists every lease scheduled to expire under its own terms during the month of November. That would be either the end of the primary term (where no option to extend was agreed) or the end of the extended primary term after the option payment was tendered.

All of the calendars are printed, bound in some manner (such as a 3-ring binder). Every company has a pre-determined list of professionals inside the company that must receive these calendars. The lease analyst will print and bind the calendars, then deliver them to the first professional on the set list of recipients. That first professional will review them, mark their choices YES or NO for the action required, initial their name on the list and pass the calendars on to the next recipient on the list. The last name on the list normally is the lease analyst who issued them.

The lease analyst will then follow company procedures as to what actions the analyst will take based on the choices made by all of the professionals in each of the calendars. Those actions can vary widely between companies.

The primary (usually, only) goal of any monthly lease records calendar is to preserve and protect each lease as an asset of the company, until the asset expires under its own terms. A lease analyst cannot allow a lease to expire prematurely due to mistake or oversight.

A prospective employee interviewing for an entry-level lease analyst position should remember that every new hire must be trained in that company’s systems and procedures. The company knows that, so it’s not necessary for the analyst to know exactly how to perform all tasks relative to the monthly calendars, but must know what they are and generally how they are created and handled.

To learn all about the basic functions and workflow in an oil and gas company from the standpoint of leases, buy "How an Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Company Operates" from our bookstore. It provides a complete overview of the life of a lease from beginning to end. It also contains an extensive glossary valuable to every oil and gas lease analyst.

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