Following on Ensco International's (NYSE:ESV) recent scolding, we've now got even more negative sentiment weighing on the shallow-water contract drillers. There are several catalysts behind Monday's downgrade of a few key players at the hands of a Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) analyst.

For one, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) unexpectedly terminated a contract with Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE) six months ahead of schedule. Never mind that this was in Nigeria, where instability is the norm. This somehow confirmed observers' fears that the end of high dayrates is nigh, thanks to oversupply. Sigh.

Some rates have indeed softened a touch. Noble and GlobalSantaFe (NYSE:GSF) both announced contract signings that came in below expectations. Also adding to analyst unrest was Noble's announcement that it is expecting delays on various newbuild deliveries over the next few years.

This confluence of challenges was enough to unnerve Wall Street wunderkinds, one of whom cut his earnings estimate on Noble by one penny. Not so noble now, are you, punk?

Perhaps I'm missing something, but analysts seem upset that too many rigs are coming onto the shallow-water market, while at the same time they're punishing Noble for not bringing rigs up on time. If Noble experiences delays during a period of oversupply, is that the worst thing in the world?

Don't get me wrong, I fully recognize there's room for deterioration in the jackup market. I'm just not all that concerned when it comes to the firms that were singled out in yesterday's downgrade.

Rowan (NYSE:RDC) has a manufacturing operation that can support the bottom line in leaner times. Ensco is slowly morphing into a deepwater contender before our eyes, with four floaters in the pipeline. And finally, Noble has proven that through strategic deployments of its jackup fleet, the company has maintained terrific utilization in the shallow water.

Ensco in particular may have won my cheapskate heart with the comment that they are "cost mavens," but I think all three of these operators are worth a hard look if market pessimism persists.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.