"A different offshore driller." Catchy, huh? That's the branding that Seadrill (OTC BB: SDRLF.PK) has adopted for itself, and it's quite fitting. From the company's swashbuckling M&A style to its dashing dividends, Seadrill occupies a special place in the contract-drilling space.

I imagine that no more than a handful of my readers hold shares of the Norwegian outfit, so I won't dwell on the earnings aspect of Seadrill's latest quarterly report. But let's just get a sense of where Seadrill stands.

In revenue terms, the driller has narrowed the gap between itself and Pride International (NYSE:PDE) -- the very company whose shares Seadrill feasted on before choking on a poison pill. Margins are uninspiring next to an outfit like Noble (NYSE:NE), but as newbuild deepwater rigs go to work for ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) in Brazil and Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) in the Gulf of Mexico, the cash will certainly keep crashing in.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Seadrill remains bullish on the business outlook, but the salient points supporting that position are worth pondering.

For one, the company identifies Petrobras' (NYSE:PBR) deepwater discoveries as a game-changer. Such finds are reinforcing the idea that offshore prospects are high enough to warrant massive investments from national and independent oil companies alike.

Second, while investment in rigs is robust, the market is quickly absorbing the new capacity. Out of the 42 ultra-deepwater newbuilds hitting the water this year or next, every one has a contract in hand. Come 2010, two-thirds of the new arrivals will already be contracted.

With capital markets in their crummy state, Seadrill's financial-engineering feats through partner Ship Finance (NYSE:SFL) may feel some strain. I expect the company to be a strong performer in future years, but it wouldn't necessarily be my top contractor choice today.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute has no position in any company mentioned. Petrobras is an Income Investor selection. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.