I don't want to be too hard on the skeptics -- really, I don't. After all, we've all been wrong before, and I know I'm going to be wrong again in the future. All the same, those who keep beating the "it's over now" drum on energy services have been wrong with respect to GlobalSantaFe
Second-quarter results were quite solid as drilling activity (especially offshore drilling activity) continued to increase. Revenue rose 50% for the quarter, and reported net income posted a slight increase from the year-ago level. If you strip out a net gain related to the sale of the land drilling business, the company actually lost money during last year's quarter. So this quarter represents a significant operational improvement.
Looking at some of the statistics that matter, the company saw utilization climb to 95% (from 82% a year ago). Strong dayrate increases also allowed the company to post growth in average revenue per day ($74,900 vs. $61,000).
For the next couple of years, GlobalSantaFe should continue to benefit from a hot market for offshore rigs. The company has more than $750 million in its business backlog, and many operators such as Petrobras
What's more, the company stands to benefit simply from up-pricing its old contracts. For instance, the company is getting about $80,000 a day for its North Sea operations while the current spot rate is about $225,000 a day. Once those old contracts expire, they get renewed at the higher rate. Given that only about half of '06 capacity and 15% of '07 capacity is booked, the company should be able to generate some solid growth for the next few years to come.
Yes, sooner or later supply and demand will come back into balance, and rates will ease off the historic nominal highs that we're now seeing. But that doesn't mean that the offshore drilling business is going to collapse. More and more oil companies are increasing their offshore drilling out of necessity (they're not finding enough new oil/gas on land), and I don't see that really changing in a big way.
No doubt that the easy money has almost certainly been made here. But that doesn't mean that what's left on the table is just a bunch of scraps. If you listen to major oil producers such as Total SA
For more on the offshore rig gig:
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).