I'll start with the admission that I once plied the halls of a predecessor company of driller Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO), so what follows may include some prejudice. Nevertheless, I'm a believer that crude prices will, over time, head decidedly northward, making Diamond one of the more attractive stocks in the energy universe.

With 14 jackup rigs, 30 semisubmersibles, and a drillship comprising its fleet, the company comes in fourth behind the likes of Noble (NYSE:NE) and the larger Transocean (NYSE:RIG) in size. Jackups possess three or four huge legs that are lowered into the sea floor during operations, while the drilling platform is jacked up hydraulically. "Semisubs" are larger and are partially submerged for stability during drilling. They therefore can drill in far deeper water -- occasionally to 10,000 feet.

Diamond Offshore, which once was a purely Gulf of Mexico operator, is now active around the globe, receiving an average of about $140,000 per day for its jackups, less than half of the semisubs’ $320,000 average. About 90% of the company's rigs are working, although the next few months will see a number of jackups and semis come off contract and stay idled unless new deals turn up. But those events are likely already in the stock price.

The company is also in the process of acquiring a new dynamically positioned semi which will be rated for depths to 10,000 feet. I'm willing to speculate that the new rig will end up in the employ of Brazil's Petrobras (NYSE:PBR), which currently has several Diamond Offshore units under contract.

Diamond also is active in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where it is drilling in depths for the likes of Devon (NYSE:DVN), Hess (NYSE:HES), and Plains Exploration (NYSE:PXP). Further, as noted, it has rigs working in a number of other locations, including the North Sea, Angola, Egypt, and Australia.

The company also can roll out some positive metrics. For instance, its P/E is less than 9 times, it boasts a profit margin that's pushing 40%, and analysts expect a better than industry average growth rate for the next five years.

So unless you're convinced that crude prices are stuck near $70 -- or destined to slide lower -- I'd suggest that you pay close attention to this diamond that's hardly in the rough.

For related Foolishness:

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your questions, comments, and kibitzing. Petroleo Brasileiro is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool has a powerful disclosure policy.