Amid the fall in oil prices, oil drillers have declined along with their exploring brethren. But drilling for oil and searching for it are two different businesses that are affected differently by the price of oil. And in this Fool's opinion, oil drillers have sold off too far.

Oil drillers don't experience the same direct effect from oil prices that other oil-related companies have. They have contracts, sometimes very long in duration, that insulate them somewhat from the daily moves oil makes. And some of the larger drillers pay a nice dividend to shareholders.

Below are four of the largest oil drillers, their performance over the past month, and current dividend yield.


1-Month Performance

Current Yield

Transocean (NYSE: RIG) (9.1%) 5.7%
Seadrill (NYSE: SDRL) (9.8%) 10.1%
Noble (NYSE: NE) (13.2%) 1.7%
Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO) (9.4%) 0.8%
DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) (22.3%) 0%

As you can see, these stocks have been punished along with the overall market and oil prices, which will take a long time to affect their long-term business -- especially in deep water.

Stick to deep water
Not only is deep water now the focus of the industry, it's the safest bet for investors. Deepwater wells take much longer to drill than the shallow-water wells companies like Hercules Offshore (Nasdaq: HERO) focus on.

If you're looking for a way to invest in oil drilling, Seadrill and Transocean have the two largest ultra-deepwater fleets in the sector. And both offer a very attractive dividend to shareholders.

Ocean Rig will also be an interesting play once it is spun off by DryShips to shareholders. The company will be a pure play on ultra-deepwater drilling and has a fleet of ships under construction.

After a pop yesterday, these stocks are coming back, but this Fool thinks they all have much further to run.

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