SeaDrill: Deepwater dollars

This offshore driller has an aggressive global growth strategy and offers an 8.7% yield.

By TheStockAdvisors Nov 25, 2011 11:23AM
Image: Oil drilling platform (© Scott Gibson/Corbis)By Amy Calistri, The Daily Paycheck

SeaDrill (SDRL) is the second-largest offshore driller, with the second-largest ultra-deepwater fleet.

It operates the world over with 46 rigs, and it's clients include most of the oil and gas exploration heavyweights like Exxon Mobil (XOM), ConocoPhillips (COP), the Norwegian company Statoil (STO) and Argentina's Petrobras (PZE).

One of the advantages that SeaDrill has over its competitors is its youth. The Bermuda-Norway company was incorporated in 2005 and has the youngest fleet in the industry.

In many cases, this means its rigs are fitted with more advanced technology and safety features.

In the second quarter ended June 30, SeaDrill earned $1.29 per share, compared with the $0.72 per share it earned in the same quarter a year earlier.

SeaDrill's current earnings easily support its current dividend of $0.75 per share. At current prices, SDRL has a yield of 8.7%.

SeaDrill has a very aggressive growth strategy that has so far served it well. A growing rig count can potentially translate into growing income for Seadrill's investors.

But these are incredibly expensive pieces of equipment, which requires SeaDrill to carry a lot of debt. Keeping the growing fleet engaged will be key to the company's success. A healthy credit market is also important as this is fuel for SeaDrill's expansion plans.

With oil prices high and a number of large deep water discoveries driving demand, SeaDrill's aggressive plans will likely be rewarded.

These sector fundamentals will ensure that energy-related companies such as SeaDrill will have fewer difficulties securing credit in the foreseeable future, even in tight credit situations.  

Action to take: The energy sector is always volatile and risky, with investments churned by the fluctuating market price of oil and gas.

Offshore drillers also have to navigate a truly dangerous and challenging environment. Needless to say, an investor in SeaDrill has to tolerate a lot of risk.

That being said, oil prices and the projected demand for drilling services appear to be favorable for the foreseeable future. And SeaDrill's dividend looks to be well supported. I am going to start a small position in SDRL at current levels.

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Tags: oilSDRL
Nov 25, 2011 7:23PM
I invested in SDRL a couple of months ago, for the reason of a nice dividend, & forward growth.  I believe the oil play will continue for years, until natural gas comes more into play. I almost bought RIG before the Macundo fiasco, & sure glad I held off.  SDRL, looks to be the play in this sector, as well as the pipe MLP"s. Great dividends from both sectors, &  when economies ever pick up again, oil, will be at the forefront. SDRL should be in the drivers seat, when that time comes. Long SDRL, EPD, LINE
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