Shale play classes offered

Texas Christian University’s Energy Institute and Alamo Colleges later this month will start offering a series of classes geared toward the oil and gas boom in the Eagle Ford Shale region.

There are two sets of course work. One is a program in land management, aimed at people who are industry novices but want to work as a landman or in jobs such as land technician, division order analyst, lease and title analyst, right-of-way agent or land manager. The course work is also for accountants, attorneys and others who work closely with land departments.

The second is a royalty owners program that will teach people how to manage their minerals estate.

Both the land management and mineral owner programs are non-degree-track, certificate programs.

“These are non-degreed programs, so we’re not going to flunk you out,” said John Baum, a principal at the CER Energy Institute, which works with TCU to offer energy industry programs. Baum spoke in San Antonio last week at an Eagle Ford Consortium event at Palo Alto College. “But I promise you this: You’ll learn a lot.”

The royalty owner program will take people through the process of acquiring minerals, basic energy law, lease negotiations and what to do after production starts, such as payment review, accounting and taxation. It’s being taught in conjunction with the National Association of Royalty Owners.

Baum said that even the well-educated can stumble when it comes to negotiating a minerals lease with an oil company.

“I happen to be a royalty owner,” he said. “Even though I have a Ph.D., when it came to negotiating that lease I found out I was in grade school.”

George Wilson, a Dallas attorney who advises mineral owners and will help teach the classes, said the U.S. has 8 million individual royalty owners, most of whom are “woefully unskilled and unprepared” to manage their minerals.

He said some families have lost millions of dollars over generations because of badly negotiated leases.

Registration is open. Classes will be held at Palo Alto College and the Alamo Colleges University Center.

Alamo Colleges already offers a series of oil field training classes — everything from pipe fitting, welding and project management to logistics, safety programs and commercial truck driving.

Twitter: @Jennifer_Hiller