2 Drillers Head in Opposite Directions


More than a year after the deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the drilling industry is back at work again. There's less turmoil over regulations, and drillers from shallow to deep water are getting back to work. Some, though, are having more success than others.

Deepwater drives Seadrill
's (NYS: SDRL) revenue fell to $955 million from $1.11 billion a year ago, primarily because of a deconsolidation of Archer Limited earlier this year. It's no surprise in the current environment that most of this industry leader's operating profit came from the company's fleet of floaters. These rigs generated $341 million of the company's $430 million in operating profit.

The floaters segment includes drill ships and semisubmersible rigs that operate in much deeper water than jack-ups and are dominating the drilling market right now. Companies like Seadrill, Transocean (NYS: RIG) , and DryShips (NAS: DRYS) are building deepwater rigs as fast as they can to keep up with demand.

For Seadrill, net income for the quarter came in at $645 million, or $1.35 per share, and Seadrill maintained its $0.75 dividend, which should make shareholders very happy.

Dry bulk sinks DryShips
On the other end of the spectrum is DryShips, which had drill ships that weren't drilling and dry bulk ships that aren't commanding a decent price in the second quarter.

The company's offshore drilling segment revenue rose 16% to $126.6 million, while the dry bulk segment declined 19% to $97.4 million. But revenue was hurt by the mobilization of a couple of the rigs.

What did DryShips leave shareholders with at the end of the day? A hefty $114.1 million loss, or $0.33 per share, a big downturn from a $19.5 million profit last year.

DryShips' spinoff Ocean Rig, which will begin trading under the ticker "ORIG" later this year, may be worth evaluating, but until then I would avoid DryShips stock.

There are offshore drillers that provide value to shareholders and drillers that don't. Over time, DryShips has proven to be the latter and Seadrill has proven to be a steady operator worth a second look.

Deepwater is still the place to be
Companies with deepwater capabilities like Seadrill, Transocean, and Noble (NYS: NE) are where investors should focus their time and energy. Shallow water, where Hercules Offshore (NAS: HERO) focuses and some of these companies have rigs, hasn't been nearly as profitable as deepwater in recent years.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Travis Hoium does now have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.The Motley Fool owns shares of Transocean and Noble. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Hercules Offshore. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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