Photographer: Brittany Sowacke/Bloomberg

Oil Industry’s ‘Hottest Zip Codes’ See Bids Soar on SM Deal

  • SM buys Rock Oil Holdings from private-equity giant Riverstone
  • Pays almost $40,000 an acre for drilling rights in Permian

SM Energy Co.’s $980 million purchase of drilling rights in the biggest U.S. crude field shows producers are willing to pay a premium for access to one of the few spots where oil exploration still turns a profit.

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