A subsidiary of Tulsa-based Empire Petroleum Corp. has acquired producing oil and natural gas assets in the Bakken Shale in Montana and North Dakota for $5.6 million. 

According to an 8-K filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Empire North Dakota LLC acquired about 20,700 developed and undeveloped acres and 184 wells with production of 375 boe/d from EnergyQuest II LLC. The acreage is spread across North Dakota's Billings, Bottineau, Bowman, Burke, McHenry, McKenzie, Mountrail, Renville, Stark and Williams counties, and Montana's Richland and Sheridan counties.

Empire President Mike Morrisett said following the acquisition, the company's assets will have more than 450 boe/d of combined production, weighted to oil. CEO Tommy Pritchard added that the acquisition "continues our disciplined growth strategy to acquire and manage mature producing oil properties with predictable, low-decline, long-life production.

"These assets also have additional upside in undeveloped resources that we believe will allow Empire to maximize production while minimizing costs through a low-risk, low-cost drill program. The pipeline of growth opportunities remains robust and we are currently evaluating deal flow with a focus on building scale within our core geographical areas of operation."

The effective date for the transaction was Jan. 1, according to the SEC filing. The subsidiary said it would operate 139 wells, 120 in North Dakota and 19 in Montana.

Empire has two subsidiaries, the other being Empire Louisiana LLC, according to a 10-K filed with the SEC at the end of 2018. At the time, the company said all of its producing assets were in Louisiana and properties there had production of about 100 boe/d. During the year, Empire acquired oil producing properties from Cardinal Exploration and Production Co., and oil and gas producing assets in separate transactions from Exodus Energy Inc. and Riviera Upstream LLC, formerly Linn Energy Holdings LLC.

Regulators in North Dakota reported last month that oil and gas exploration activities were expanding into the state's grasslands, and that natural gas production hit a record 2.72 Bcf/d in January. Bismarck added that oil production averaged 1.4 million b/d in January. Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that gas production in the Bakken would increase to 2.82 Bcf/d in April, up from 2.80 Bcf/d in March. EIA also projected Bakken oil production would increase to 1.46 million b/d in April, up from 1.44 million b/d in March.