This week, the tragic events surrounding Transocean's
One recent point of concern on the part of drilling market observers surrounds a current tender process by Pemex, which requires that some bidders' rigs be quite new. That could theoretically put some of Noble's older rigs out of work. The company reassured everyone on the conference call that Pemex needs jackups, and that the company's future in Mexico is not in jeopardy.
Noble closed out the quarter with $848 million in cash. With new-build projects being delayed or failing to materialize altogether, the firm is looking to return more cash to shareholders. Up for vote at the upcoming annual meeting is both an increase in the regular dividend, and a special dividend. Basically, the company has more money than it knows what to do with. There are worse problems to have.
With $1.2 billion in the bank, worthy adversary Ensco
Between Noble and Ensco, I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite. You know I think they're two of the best energy stocks out there. I expect shareholders of either firm to fare very well over the long haul, even if things get a little hairy next year. If you've sided with one or the other, I'd be interested to hear your reasoning in the comments section below.