Transocean Holding Oceans of Opportunity?
Transocean lead the energy sector higher yesterday, after it jumped 3.9 percent on news that a federal judge in New Orleans accepted the company's guilty plea to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act, and to a $400 million fine. Although this is the second-highest fine ever assessed for an environmental disaster, it effectively closes the book on Transocean's prosecution over the oil spill. Management can now put this disaster behind them, and refocus on their core business going forward.
This had some options traders making bullish bets.
With the stock at $59.09, one trader bought 4,600 August 75-strike calls for $0.51 each. This trade will make money if RIG is above $75.51, or 28 percent higher, by August expiration. Now there's a bullish bet!
As the Deepwater Horizon disaster fades into the past, the U.S. government is bringing 38 million new drilling grounds in the Gulf of Mexico to auction. The government estimates that these new drilling grounds could contain around 1 billion barrels of oil, and four trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Transocean is poised to capitalize on this as the world's largest offshore driller. Currently, Transocean has 14 of 27 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, where they command day rates of around $500,000 and drive the company's profit margins.
(Read More: Deepwater Oil Risks Greater Than Industry Admitted)
Now that Transocean's legal battles are behind it, management will be able to refocus on growing profits, and the company will look take advantage of the ultra-deepwater opportunities in the gulf. Transocean currently has a new ultra-deepwater ship under construction, and continues to see demand grow. There is little unused deepwater drilling capacity available right now, which has made Transocean's customers more willing to enter into longer contracts to build new rigs.
(Read More: BP Pays Record $4 Billion in Criminal Penalties )
In addition to the Gulf of Mexico, there is promising exploration being done off of the coasts of Africa and Brazil, which are likely to further drive demand for deepwater drilling. Transocean is well positioned to take advantage of the coming demand, and should see a boom in business as long as Brent crude oil continues to hold strong above $100/barrel.
(Read More: Levitt: Brent Crude to Fall to $80)
DISCLOSURES: I have no position in RIG, but this upside call purchase with longer-dated options is an interesting bet.
Disclosures: None to report.
Brian Stutland is Managing Member of Stutland Equities and a contributor to CNBC's "Options Action."