Today's Trends: North Dakota Lease Sales Underscore Oil Boom

Last month, North Dakota launched a lease sale for acreage situated on one of the U.S.' largest oil formations -- the Bakken shale play.

Drilling activity has accelerated in the region in late 2009 and early 2010, and North Dakota rig count additions have outpaced the recovery in most other land drilling markets.

The recent lease sale garnered proceeds of $47 million, the second highest amount in the state's history following the November 2009 lease sale ($71 million).

Both sales bode well for burgeoning drilling activity in the state. Expect North Dakota's rig count -- currently around 80 units -- to trend higher and potentially break above last year's record of 90 rigs in the near future.