Services and drilling company Hercules Offshore Inc. (NASDAQ: HERO) recently received some positive comments from two analysts, including an upgrade to Outperform today from Stephens. The company, mostly a shallow-water driller, also published its fleet status report today, showing a jump in average contract days for domestic U.S. from 174 in October to 232 in November.
Although much smaller than competitors like Seadrill Ltd. (NYSE: SDRL), Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG), Ensco PLC (NYSE: ESV), Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (NYSE: DO) and Noble Corp. (NYSE: NE), Hercules is in a solid position to take advantage of new opportunities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The company has the added advantage of not having any Gulf contracts with BP PLC (NYSE: BP), which may be unable to bid for new leases as a result of yesterday’s suspension of the company from entering into new federal contracts.
Shares are up about 43% in the past 12 months and are trading up more than 6% today, at $4.98 in a 52-week range of $2.91 to $5.57.