No, the answer is not "a good offense," though Ensco International's
At year's end, the company sported a cash position that exceeded debt by about $500 million. Throw in a $350 million revolving line of credit that hasn't been used, and this is one liquid driller.
It won't have the smoothest of sailing this year. Ensco candidly pointed out that some of its jack-up rigs, particularly in the Asia/Middle East market, are likely to fall idle for some part of the year. That's inevitable, given the new wave of uncontracted newbuilds combined with the implosion of overleveraged independent exploration and production companies. Also, as we saw with Transocean
On balance, though, the situation looks pretty comfortable for Ensco. The new Ensco 8500 rig goes to work for Anadarko
Ensco still has more than two years before its first uncontracted rig hits the water, and it has good reason to expect adequate demand, given recent exploratory and appraisal successes by the likes of CNOOC
Finally, Ensco's statement that it plans to "aggressively manage costs to protect margins" carries a lot of weight, given the company's track record in this regard. Along with Noble