Energy Analytics Minerals

The hidden costs of running title: How to transform your approach


While horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing significantly enhance well productivity, they have had the opposite effect on the land department. Prior to the shale revolution, running title often involved just dozens of acres, but today’s land managers and title attorneys must establish defensible title evidence for tens of thousands of acres, spanning many interest owners in just weeks.

Despite the explosion of digital records over the last decade, land teams continue to visit county courthouses to complete runsheets and trace records back to sovereignty, relying on the official versions of the truth that they can touch and trust. Identifying historical record defects that can derail a lease or come back to haunt lessee or lessor years later requires careful due diligence, but this traditional, manual approach comes with a substantial cost.

  • Manual record search can cost upwards of $600-$1000+/ day/landman
    • Including day rate, travel, lodging, meals and copying costs
  • Searches can take multiple days or even weeks
    • Depending on the complexity and extent of the search
  • Traveling to and from courthouses can take hours out of a day
    • Downtime and loss of productivity often not considered as a cost

Land record search has seen very few incremental advancements in the last few decades, compared to other data sources, making land managers hungry for a new solution to improve efficiency to keep up with the industry.

A new end-to-end digital solution allows land teams to accelerate record searches and profoundly reduce field costs by completely eliminating the need to visit the courthouse.

Manual Workflows Digital Processes

Although some companies have access to digital abstract plants, they may not include adequate exact historical title information, or may not exist across all counties, underscoring the need for access to a “backplant,” a collection of exact photocopies of the indices and documents found at the courthouse, providing a source of truth to verify all documents are complete and accounted for.

An abstract plant is a collection of all recorded documents that affect the title of a piece of property, including deeds, mortgages, liens and other legal instruments, indexed by these attributes to be searchable in a database. Title attorneys use these records to determine the chain of title for a property, correct ownership and decimals at every link, and to identify any potential risks to a lease.

Taking out the physical courthouse visit has caused a paradigm shift in the way E&Ps and non-operated mineral and royalty interest land teams work, by adding best-in-class title plants to the Enverus platform with the introduction of BackPlant FileViewer in Courthouse 3.0. This addition completes a trusted end-to-end digital title process.


A comprehensive backplant database provides a means to search and view its contents spanning indexes, plats and legal documents, including:

  • Geographically indexed title plants from the 1800s
  • Historical real property documents
  • Historical oil and gas documents
  • Handwritten grantor/grantee indexes
  • Historical and current subdivision plats
  • Starters/deed restrictions

Transformed Workflow with FileViewer

Armed with a platform of carefully curated public data, value-added datasets and analytics, the Enverus land suite gives teams an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the lease acquisition life cycle, designed to streamline your workflow from initial property screening and lease checks to runsheets and chain of title. BackPlant FileViewer closes the loop on the title workflow, serving as the ultimate source of truth to verify all documents are complete and accounted for. In turn, E&Ps and non-ops can swiftly form conclusions about properties and take the best next step to lease or acquire interests, while saving on the hidden costs of a manual workflow.

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