Can you tell us a little bit about Bellatorum Resources’s history on the North American continent and what makes you different from your competitors?
My wife and I started this company in May of 2016 as a land services company. We were involved in buying minerals part time and we saw an opportunity to carve out a niche in the market by doing things a little differently. We focus primarily in Texas however, we have acquired a few deals in Oklahoma and Colorado as well.
I think our work ethic and customer service is what makes us different from our competitors. Based on the feedback I consistently receive from mineral owners, they tell me that many of our competitors fail to return phone calls and emails, and sometimes even fail to treat them with common courtesy and respect during their business dealings. We believe in putting the mineral owner first, which always pays off for us. Additionally, I think we leverage technology really well. We have figured out how to use new software and data management tools to help us organize data and run title more quickly. In many situations, speed is of the essence and I believe our ability to move fast differentiates us as well.
What do you see as the key challenges facing the industry in the region over the coming 5-10 years and how is Bellatorum Resources positioned to help their clients overcome these challenges?
The key challenges in this industry, at least from our perspective, are:
- An abundance of bad data – tax rolls are often incorrect and vary in format from county to county and state to state.
- Aggregating smaller interests that tend to have clouded title. As more and more interests get diluted by being passed down through generations, often without a probated will, it becomes more difficult to consolidate acreage and cure title.
We’re diligent in our efforts to correct the bad data we find on tax rolls, such as bad addresses and gross acreages for leases and units. We also have an outstanding team of land managers who are excellent at curative title work. My business partner, Isack Kohn, is a top-notch landman and really does an outstanding job at making sure we have marketable title for everything we buy. Again, I just think our work ethic and attention to detail sets us apart. Additionally, we run our business a little differently than other groups. Our employees all have a solid base salary and full benefits package. I know that some other firms use a commission only structure for their acquisition teams. I feel like that is part of the reason why mineral buyers sometimes get a bad rap. The way we manage our human capital at Bellatorum allows our team members to focus on quality work and doesn’t incentivize dishonesty or cutting corners.
Where do you see the opportunities for growth within the industry in the next 5 years and how are you positioned to support this?
We feel that new technologies are emerging that will allow operators to get oil out of the ground in some of the old plays that have been forgotten about. If we maintain our unparalleled work ethic and culture of constant learning, then we feel that we can acquire assets in areas our competitors may be ignoring.
What game-changing discovery/ project/ technology is currently making waves in ‘Royalties & Minerals’ sector?
I would say the massive influx of institutional money is causing the market to get much more competitive. There are new groups popping up nearly every week trying to acquire minerals. Competition is a good thing and it forces us all to constantly improve. Additionally, technology and new software available to the masses have caused there to be less information asymmetry between mineral owners and mineral buyers. I think that’s a good thing as well. It makes it harder for the bad actors in the industry to get deals done and eventually they will be pushed out of the market entirely.
What insights are you most looking forward to debating and discussing at the 10th North America Assembly?
I would say that “Stewardship” is at the top of my list. I feel that we have a duty to our country and to the families that we acquire properties from to ensure that we are being good stewards of these assets. Our property rights in this country, especially concerning natural resources, greatly differentiate us from the rest of the world. We can’t take that for granted, nor can we forget how closely our industry is connected to national security. Energy independence, regardless of which party is in power, has always been a priority for our nation’s leaders. We must be careful which entities we allow to be the final owner of these assets and make sure their interests are aligned with ours, beyond just the financial transactions.
About Chris Bentley
Chris Bentley grew up in East Texas, graduating from high school in 1999. He immediately enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he served over 14 years. During that time, he completed 6 deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism, three tours to Iraq and three to Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged in December of 2013 for physically disabling injuries sustained during his last tour of duty in Afghanistan.
After leaving the Marine Corps, Chris joined G&P Land as a Land/Right of Way Agent acquiring easements and other land assets for one of the world’s leading midstream companies. It was there that he started to learn the ins and outs of the land business and began to appreciate the perspective of the landowners.