What is a Scout?


Oil Scouting is one of the most interesting and colorful professions in the oil industry, almost as old as the industry itself.

The Birth of Oil in Pennsylvania


The birth of oil in northwestern Pennsylvania can be traced all the way back to 1748 when the first map was published by Peter Kalm from Sweden, showing oil springs in Oil City, PA. But it wasn’t until August 27, 1859 that petroleum was unearthed in Venango County and Titusville. Edwin L. Drake drilled 69 ½ feet in Titusville to create the world’s first commercially successful oil well. This event launched the modern petroleum industry and officially characterized northwestern Pennsylvania as the “Oil Region.”

History Of Scouting


First oil exchange in N. America was established in Pittsburgh, PA 


First group of “SCOUTS” formed in Kinsua, Pennsylvania for the purpose of exchange current and correct information about drilling wells.

Photo credits to The Drake Well Museum



What does a Scout do?


Manage various data bases
  • Monitor and report on drilling activity
  • Provide competitor analysis
  • Track rig schedules and contracts
  • Facilitate well data trades
  • Secure specific company information
  • Maintain an extensive industry network
  • Advise of industry opportunity

How does One Become a Scout?

Need to have general and sometimes specific oil & gas knowledge about:

  • Geology
  • Land Leasing
  • Drilling Operations
  • Engineering
  • Well logging
  • Well testing
  • Well production
  • Oil & Gas Regulations
  • Regulatory Agencies around the Country
  • How to find old and new well logs and data

 The Art of Scouting

  • Need good communication skills
  • Ability to be observant and disseminate information quickly to the appropriate parties
  • A good scout is curious, has a passion for knowledge and a nose for what’s good for business
  • Great networking skills
  • Ability to have honest dialogue based on mutual respect, while maintaining IOSA Code of Ethics
  • Loyal and protective of their companies’ interests

History of IOSA

The  idea of an Oil Scouts organization originated during the early part of 1924 by Mr. M. G. (Buddy) Hale.   Through his efforts and cooperation of the Scouts located in Wichita Falls, Graham and Brackenridge districts in North Central Texas, the first meeting of a group of Scouts ever assembled was held in Graham, Texas.  It was at this meeting that the idea of a permanent Oil Scouts Organization was initiated.

1924      First convention was called to order in Mineral Wells, Texas on June 9, 1924.  A charter was  adopted for the “National Oil Scouts Association” which was filed in Austin, Texas on July 28, 1924.

1925   First Executive Committee meeting held in Dallas to adopt the Constitution and By Laws of the National Oil Scouts Assn.   

1927    National Oil Scouts published its first statistical information bulletin which was a  feature of the  American Association of Petroleum Geologists meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

1940   Due to the large number of Landmen in the association, renamed “National Oil Scouts and Landman’s Association”. Membership peaked @900.

1955   Landmen formed their own association.  The Canadian Oil Scouts joined.

1960   Name change to current name “International Oil Scouts Association”

2007   Became “Cooperating Association” within the American Association of Professional   Landman’s Association


Photo credits to The Drake Well Museum