Monday, January 10, 2011

Good News For Select Offshore Drillers

A baker's dozen of offshore drilling companies just got a belated Christmas present.  Uncle Sam has decided they can resume their drilling without resubmitting their plans. The only proviso is compliance with rules adopted in the aftermath of the BP Macondo blowout.  The federal government has the right intentions, and is allowing for common sense given these operators' performance.  It would be a bit more reassuring if the government could make the new rules clear

The eventual resumption of drilling, even if it's piecemeal, should likely be good news for offshore servicers like Tidewater (TDW) and its competitors.  It's worth noting that the select companies do not include the ones directly implicated in the blowout:  BP, Halliburton, and Transocean.  The findings of the presidential commission investigating that blowout are particularly troubling for BP and will strengthen the government's lawsuit seeking $21B in damages under the Clean Water Act.

Full disclosure:  Long TDW with covered calls and cash-covered short puts.  No positions in any other companies mentioned.