New basin entries by oil and gas producers seem to be having a moment right now. Stories always compelling to explore—especially if their core assets happen to lie primarily in the almighty Permian or aren’t the result of an acquisition inheritance. Reese Energy Consulting today is following the latest leap outside the Perm by Midland and Delaware players betting more than a buck or two on fresh territory and inventory to expand their portfolios.

We shared last week Denver-based SM Energy’s $2.55 billion deal for XCL Resources and a welcome howdy into the Uinta Basin that came as somewhat of a surprise for most folks. Now, Fort Worth-based TXO Partners, which operates a combined 371,000 net acres in the Texas and N.M., Permian and San Juan, has hopscotched into the Williston with two acquisitions valued at $300 million. But it’s not exactly their first rodeo there. The company, which went public last year, is led by CEO Bob Simpson—shale veteran and former CEO of XTO Energy who built a Bakken powerhouse before selling to Exxon back in 2010 for $41 billion and finding a comfortable nest in the nation’s most prolific basin. Still, an old friend has a way of wooing one back.  

Simpson’s return to the Williston with TXO includes acquisitions of Eagle Mountain Energy Partners and an undisclosed seller with assets in N.D., and Montana. They add 4.5 MBOED in production and proved developed reserves of 17 MMBOE. TXO in 1Q announced sales volumes of 22 MBOED. Some past romances are hard to forget.