Ensco International (ESV) discussed its 3rd Qtr 2008 financial results recently, with expectations and opportunities for business as usual generally the theme for the Dallas, Texas based offshore drilling contractor. As followers of EnergyPoint Research's independent ratings are aware, Ensco experienced a favorable ratings swing in our last comprehensive drilling and wellsite contractors survey conducted in 2006. The ratings improvement was due in part to increased dialogue with customers and the institution of a more formalized program to survey and actively address customers' needs.
In terms of its current performance, preliminary results from EnergyPoint's ongoing 2008 / 09 survey show the company receiving generally healthy marks from respondents so far. These ratings predominately reflect Ensco's jackup operations. Ensco management eventually sees its growing deepwater fleet accounting for approximately one-third of the company's revenue (notable given Ensco's considerable history as a shelf operator). While our deepwater data on Ensco at this point are relatively limited, the indications so far suggest the company's talents do extend beyond the shallow ocean waters.
Based on overall 2008 results to date, Ensco's strengths with customers continue to lie in the areas of performance and reliability, technology and corporate resources. Ratings appear particularly strong in the sub-category of "value-creating technology". This particular finding seemingly underscores, and is possibly reflective of, the company's new 8500 Series deepwater rigs. The almost niche-like rigs purport to provide customers with significant -- but targeted -- capabilities at lower costs (to all parties) than rival designs. The only ratings weakness we see for Ensco at this point appears in the area of problem and dispute resolution.
Stock position: None.