Move over, shale oil and natural gas. There is a new hot energy play in the U.S., and it's our old friend the Gulf of Mexico. Now that technology has allowed us to access some of the ultra-deepwater regions of the Gulf, several oil companies are making some big finds lately. The most recent one was from Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL), who estimates that the find at its Gunflint well is somewhere in the 65 million-90 million barrel range. 

This new territory for the Gulf, known as the subsalt formation, is vast and will more than likely be responsible for 65% of total production in the region by 2016. The most interesting part of that figure is that 93% of oil production growth from this region will come from eight companies. All of which are either integrated majors or national oil companies that have large balance sheets and plenty of cash to use on big capital expenditures like drill ships and semi-submersible rigs.

It's pretty easy to pick a winner when there are only eight major players to think about. But there is another way that you can play the Gulf of Mexico that has a better chance to profit and involves even fewer companies: deepwater drilling rig companies. Tune into the conversation in the video below with Motley Fool analyst Joel South and Fool.com contributor Tyler Crowe as they discuss why this sector is poised to benefit greatly from the Gulf.

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Fool contributor Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and Seadrill. The Motley Fool owns shares of Seadrill and Transocean. 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.