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A pump jack draws oil from the ground near a hydraulic fracturing operation near Bowden, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012.

Jeff McIntosh for The Globe and Mail

The oil patch has become fertile ground again for initial public offerings.

This time around, a few notable trends have emerged, including companies building larger production bases before going public.

Such is the case with the next Calgary-based producer set for an IPO, Northern Blizzard Resource Inc., which gained a large operating base in 2010 when it paid $975-million for heavy oil assets from Nexen Energy Inc.

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The five-year-old company and its two U.S.-based private equity investors, Riverstone Holdings LLC and NGP Energy Capital Management LLC, are looking to raise a total of $500-million in a public offering, according to a source close to the deal. The shares have yet to be priced.

The offering will follow other recent ones including Journey Energy Inc., Cardinal Energy Ltd. and PrairieSky Royalty Ltd. -- the largest IPO in Canada in the last 14 years which raised $1.67-billion.

The brisk activity is part and parcel of an overall revival in oil-patch financing as capital has returned to the sector in a big way following a weak 2013.

Others said to be readying initial offerings for the coming months include Seven Generations Energy Ltd., which concentrates on developing the Montney shale play in Alberta; Teine Energy Ltd., which is developing oil prospects in the Viking formation of Saskatchewan; and Petrus Resources Ltd.; which has operations in the Montney and Alberta foothills.

"There aren't any 500-barrel-a-day or 1,000-barrel-a-day startups. These guys are quite a bit bigger than that across the board...these companies are well established," said Alan Tambosso, president of Sayer Energy Advisors.

"The other thing is that when you've been private for a long time, the cost of capital begins to catch up with you. If you've had the private equity guys in for a while, you maybe have to tap other sources and public markets can do that."

In grey market, over-the-counter trading, Seven Generations currently has a bid-ask range of $40-$42.50, and Petrus sells for $3.25, according to Liquidity Source.

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Petrus, which also counts NGP Energy Capital among its investors, may also take an alternative route to public markets, such as a reverse takeover or merger, though nothing has been decided, an industry source said.

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