Say what you will about the folks at Brazilian oil giant Petrobras
On Wednesday morning, Transocean announced the approval of five contracts with Petrobras worth a total of nearly $1 billion. All of the rigs in question already operate in Brazilian waters, and all but one was already under contract with Petrobras.
The deal covers four of the company's 32 high-specification rigs and one other rig that it classifies as an "other floater." More specifically, the five rigs include two drillships -- the Deepwater Navigator and Peregrine 1 -- and three semi-submersible rigs with operational depths ranging up to 2,000 meters.
Although sussing out day rates from announced contract specifications isn't necessarily as straightforward as it might seem, the new deals seem to offer pretty strong increases over current contracted day rates for those rigs. Of course, investors should also realize that this sort of agreement is a trade-off of risks and benefits. Transocean is locking in some very profitable rates for a pretty good period of time, but is also forgoing the possibility that rates could climb even higher.
So, as any good investor should do, Transocean management is controlling the greed impulse.
Petrobras surely had better hope that oil and gas prices stay buoyant for some time to come. By signing long-term drilling deals at rates ranging from more than 30% to 100% higher than previous rates, the company is locking itself into a higher cost structure -- one that would still be profitable if the company reaches its production goals and if energy prices stay strong. But if prices were to collapse below $30 per barrel, or if those production targets slip, profitability would almost certainly take a hit.
But that's the nature of the oil and gas business -- you pays your money and you takes your chances. You never know exactly how much oil you'll find, how much you can pump, how much it'll cost to pump, or how much you'll be able to sell it for. At least in this case, though, both Transocean and Petrobras have added a little extra certainty for the coming years.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).
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