Owen Lee Anderson was born December 1, 1949, in Northwood, North Dakota. He attended high school in Binford, North Dakota, graduating in 1967. Anderson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science 1971 and a Juris Doctor degree in 1974 from The University of North Dakota. Following law school, Anderson served as Special Assistant Attorney General and later as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of North Dakota. His responsibilities included legal work pertaining to elections, state school land university lands, and oil and gas conservation. He served as a Professor of Law at The University of North Dakota beginning in 1979. He received tenure in 1984. He served as Visiting Chair of Resources Law at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law in 1984. Although he did not actually resign his UND professorship until 1990, he served as the Jack F. Maddox Professor of Law at Texas Tech University from 1987-1992. He then joined the faculty of The University of Oklahoma College of Law, where he is the Eugene Kuntz Professor in Oil, Gas & Natural Resources. He has also served as visiting faculty at The University of Texas and Southern Methodist University.
Anderson has co-authored several books and treatises: four editions of CASES AND MATERIALS ON OIL AND GAS LAW, with accompanying forms and teaching manuals; two editions of INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM TRANSACTIONS; two editions of volume 2 of WATER AND WATER RIGHTS, and the annual supplements to LAW OF OIL AND GAS, originally authored by Eugene Kuntz. In addition, he has authored numerous articles on oil and gas law and agricultural law. He serves on the Board of Editors of the OIL AND GAS REPORTER and previously served as Executive Editor and member of the Board of Editors of NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT.
While in North Dakota Anderson was a member of the Republican Party, Sons of Norway, North Dakota Wildlife Federation, North Dakota Stockmen's Association, North Dakota Farm Bureau, Elks, the Nature Conservancy, and the State Bar Association of North Dakota, the Editorial Board of the North Dakota Mineral Title Standards. He served as Chair of the North Dakota Judicial Nominating Committee from 1981-1985, which included the time frame during which there was a dispute as to which Governor (the outgoing or incoming) had authority to fill two vacancies on the North Dakota Supreme Court.
Anderson is a member of the American Bar Association, and he is licensed to practice law in North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas. He is also a Commissioner for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, the Legal Committee of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission; Trustee for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and Trustee for the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation. He is also a member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators and the American Association of Professional Landmen. He has served as Chair of the Natural Resources Section of the Association of American Law Schools.