Compared to the dashing deepwater, the shallow end of the Gulf of Mexico is decidedly dreary. While it's less exposed to this market than Hercules Offshore
While fleet-wide average dayrates saw a slight sequential slip, jackup rates held firm, bounding 20% higher than last year. By comparison, Diamond Offshore's
Of course, the game isn't just about rates, but about margins. Fortunately, ENSCO reigns supreme among offshore players, with a nine-month cash margin of 68%. While I gave Diamond high marks on this front last week, I now stand corrected, and hasten to note that Noble stands firmly as the No. 2 margin maven.
On the call, management provided one interesting example of how they optimize the economic returns on their newly built rigs. Beginning with the ENSCO 7500, currently under contract with Chevron
They may not be as flashy as GlobalSantaFe's