Energy companies are finally starting to report earnings and, for the most part, meeting or beating expectations has been the standard for this group in 2013. Depending on how you look at it, seeing one of your peers provide great results and even more stellar expectations can be a good thing or a bad thing. Regardless of your perspective, it undoubtedly adds pressure.

Gulf of Mexico delivering boatloads of profit
Already, several companies have spoken glowingly about activity levels in the Gulf of Mexico. Not just drillers like Noble Corp (NYSE:NE) but also equipment and service companies like Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB). What we are seeing here is a steady increase in both dayrates and utilization rates, which are both very positive signs for drillship operators.

On an island by itself
Within the offshore market, Hercules Offshore (UNKNOWN:HERO.DL) has isolated itself as a jack-up rig specialist. Even more specialized is the fact that 29 of its 38 rigs are currently drilling for fossil fuels in the Gulf Coast region. While many companies left the area after the Macondo incident, Hero decided to stick around and many expect this diligence to payoff. Tomorrow's release will certainly go a long way toward proving this optimistic group right or wrong.

Joel South owns shares of Schlumberger. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of Halliburton and Ensco. The Motley Fool recommends Halliburton. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.