It's been a busy week for the two big deepwater drillers. As my colleague Toby Shute has told you, Transocean (NYSE: RIG), the granddaddy of the sector, experienced an explosion and subsequent sinking of one of its rigs, with apparent loss of life. At about the same time, Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO) kicked off earnings season for the pair.

For the quarter, Diamond Offshore reported net income of $290.9 million, or $2.09 per diluted share. Those numbers compare with $348.6 million, or $2.51 per share, for the comparable quarter a year ago. Revenues for the most recent quarter totaled $859.7 million, compared with $885.7 million in the same quarter of 2009.

In addition, the company also announced that while it's retaining its regular quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share, the special dividend that it has become accustomed to granting is being reduced by $0.50 per share to $1.375. The company's CEO, Larry Dickerson, wasted little time in explaining the dip on the company's post-release call. As he said: "The dividend reduction is not so much a reflection of our future expectations of the day rates, which happens to be positive. ... Again, we are no longer at peak levels, and that is being reflected in new contracts that we and others in the industry have signed."

In discussing day rates more explicitly, Dickerson noted that they "appear to be relatively stable right now with oil prices above $80." But he also noted that an improving economy would be expected to create a great demand for oil, which should permit the un-contracted new floaters to be absorbed without affecting the market. But should the market deteriorate, he said, Diamond wants to be able to maintain its dividend, retain cash, and take advantage of attractive rig-acquisition opportunities.

In the meantime, Diamond Offshore remains a bevy of activity. For instance, it currently has a dozen rigs working in the Gulf of Mexico and another 14 in Brazil. And there are multiple rigs on contract in places such as the North Sea, Australia, and Egypt.

In the next couple of weeks, we'll gain more insight into the global energy picture, as the likes of Atwood Oceanics (NYSE: ATW) and Pride (NYSE: PDE), along with a number of exploration and production companies from ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) on down, tell us about their quarters. But as an erstwhile Diamond Offshore hand, I'd advise keeping your eyes on the company. It's always been a stellar operation, and that's not likely to change.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't have financial interests in any of the companies mentioned above. He does, however, encourage your questions and comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.