Focus is on Bakken buyout candidates after Kodiak's $6B takeout

|By:, SA News Editor

Whiting Petroleum's (WLL +7.4%) $6B buyout of Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG +5.1%) is renewing investor attention on independent energy firms with operations in the Bakken Shale, especially those significantly owned by hedge funds; Paulson & Co. is the single biggest owner of KOG stock, with just under 10% of shares outstanding as of the last filing date.

While many of the largest Bakken producers are huge companies or parts of huge companies - Hess (NYSE:HES), EOG, Statoil (NYSE:STO), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), XTO Energy (NYSE:XOM) - a few small and mid-cap independent players show hedge fund interest, CNBC's Brian Sullivan writes.

The single biggest holder of Oasis Petroleum (OAS +0.5%) also is John Paulson's hedge fund, which owns 9.9M shares (~9.8% of shares outstanding), Jana Partners owns 16M-plus shares in QEP Resources (QEP +1.4%), and WPX Energy (WPX +1.1%) has substantial hedge fund ownership.