In the second quarter, offshore standout FMC Technologies (NYSE:FTI) wowed us with some record profits. At the time, the company cautioned that a repeat couldn't be expected, on account of a favorable project mix and other one-off benefits. Well, here the oilfield outfitter is three months later, detailing another killer quarter.

The key Energy Production Systems segment, which includes FMC's prized subsea systems line, racked up a nearly identical performance compared to last quarter. Segment operating margins topped 15% again, compared to the 12% to 13% that management prepared us for last time around. The subsea business saw not only strong margins, but also good volumes.

As for FMC's surface wellhead and fluid control businesses, North American sales were more sluggish, but appear to be bottoming out. Overall, revenue and earnings came in ahead of analyst expectations -- which were obviously shaped by FMC's conservative commentary.

On the conference call, management highlighted deepwater success stories around the world, from Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) and ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) in Brazil to Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) and Tullow Oil in West Africa. Each discovery translates to future potential equipment sales for FMC and competitors like Cameron (NYSE:CAM) and Dril-Quip (NYSE:DRQ).

The future looks bright for this firm. It's not surprising, then, that FMC has been busy buying back shares over the past few years. Taken alone, the quarter's repurchase of slightly less than 1 million shares isn't particularly noteworthy. But the more than 26 million shares FMC has bought back since 2005 are very significant. That's more than 20% of the current share count. Just as importantly, the average purchase price for those purchases was far below today's trading range. Now that's a buyback program I can get behind.

This is a great business, but the shares aren't exactly a bargain today. Those looking for a cheaper deepwater date might want to consider Noble (NYSE:NE) or Acergy. If you've got other ideas, don't be shy. Share with the group in the comments section below.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.