Over the past couple of years, many of the large independent oil and gas companies have had one goal: shed some ancillary assets to focus on a few select shale formations here in North America. For the most part, this goal has been accomplished, so now it is time to grow again. With much of the prime real estate taken in these shale plays, it may be time to start looking at gobbling up the acreage of a smaller company, or the entire company itself. Three Bakken producers -- Enerplus Resources Fund (NYSE:ERF), Triangle Petroleum (NYSEMKT:TPLM), and Magnum Hunter Resources (OTC:MHRCQ)-- fit the bill of potential buyouts. 

Aside from having very attractive acreage in the heart of the Bakken, these companies also have one element that makes their holdings so attractive to big players like Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) and Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL). Find out what it is by tuning into the video below.