The sell-siders at Bank of America's research arm made quite the splash last week. Not only did they initiate coverage on offshore rig king Transocean (NYSE:RIG) with a buy rating, they also threw up the fattest target price of any analyst shop working the deepwater beat. The $175 target implies that the share price will appreciate 33% from the close prior to BofA's call.

You'll have to forgive me for thinking that we were all on the same page. As my readers know, I'm probably as bullish on the deepwater dance as the next guy, but it was my understanding that ongoing offshore strength had become the consensus view. For that reason, in my third-quarter review, I expressed skepticism regarding hidden value in Transocean's stock.

The shares have run up significantly in the interim, and it looks like I was just plain early in pegging this pillar of oilfield services -- second only to Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB)! -- as nearly fully valued. One recent event may help to explain the renewed bout of enthusiasm.

I'm talking about Petrobras' (NYSE:PBR) prodigious petroleum prize. The staggering Tupi find was rendered something of a non-event in the financial media, thanks to Credit Market Mayhem: Redux. While I'm sure the BofA analysts aren't the first to put two and two together, they are the first, as far as I am aware, to quantify the incremental deepwater demand likely to result from commercial development of the Tupi find. Ready for these numbers? Twenty-five to 50 ... months' worth of drilling, right?

No, that would be years. As in 10 rigs, working around the clock, for 2.5 to five years each -- or 25 to 50 years' worth of drilling. Combine this outlook with the oceanic exploits of Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), and the rest of those pushing the frontiers of offshore exploration, and the case for Transocean's climb becomes quite clear.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute is on vacation, sampling blaufrankisch in the fatherland. He doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy stretches to the farthest frontiers.