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Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO) has signed several agreements in the range of $325,000 per day, in keeping with trends across the offshore drilling industry. Two 1,500-foot mid-water floaters are contracted to work at $350,000 per day in Australia: the Ocean Patriot, beginning in May 2006, and the Ocean Bounty, beginning in September 2007. In addition, the Ocean Nomad and Ocean Princess, two North Sea rigs capable of 1,200- and 1,500-foot water depths, respectively, were signed to letters of intent in the $335,000 per day range for work starting in 2008. In the Gulf of Mexico, the company has a letter of intent for the Ocean New Era, a 1,500-foot floater, at a rate of $255,000 per day starting in August 2006.

Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) announces it has been awarded the oilfield services component for the Saudi Aramco Khurais mega project.

Soleil initiated Pacific Ethanol (NASDAQ:PEIX) with a Buy and $34 target. They believe the company is still in the developmental stage of production and relies solely on its marketing division for revenues.

Soleil issues reports on two upcoming IPOs:

1) Aventine Renewable Energy (ticker will be AVR) is the third largest U.S. ethanol producer with 3.2% of the total production capacity and also acts as pooling agent for 10 companies with total capacity of 490mmgpy. Based on the mid-point of the $37-$41 filing range, they think the AVR transaction seems like a reasonable price with a long-term potential price of $50.

2) VeraSun Energy (ticker symbol will be VSE) is the second largest U.S. ethanol producer with 4.9% of the total nameplate volume. They note that the company currently operates 2 ethanol refineries with a total capacity of 230mmgpy and the proceeds of the offering will be used to fund expansion giving VSE a total nameplate capacity of 560mmgpy in '08. They are recommending participation in the IPO at the stated range of $18-$20 and would still consider the risk/reward attractive if pricing moved closer to $20-$21.

Source: Rob Black's Energy Stock Report: (DO, HAL, PEIX)