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Offshore drillers less than optimistic

Diamond Offshore latest to report a loss during the second quarter.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Offshore drillers less than optimistic
Diamond Offshore reports a loss for the second quarter as sentiment fades in contrast to trends for onshore drillers. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

HOUSTON, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- After idling some rigs in an effort to cut costs during the second quarter, Diamond Offshore said its optimism about a market recovery was somewhat low.

The rig company, which has headquarters in Houston, reported a net loss for the second quarter of $589.9 million, against a profit last year of $87.4 million. So far this year, the company said it sidelined or scrapped at least three of its deepwater rigs in an effort to cut costs at least through the second half of 2016.

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Last week, oilfield services companies Schlumberger and Weatherford International said in separate statements that, from their perspective, the market, particularly in North America, hit the bottom at some point during the second quarter.

Continuing a streak, data released last week from Baker Hughes, another services company, show an increase in rig activity, suggesting energy companies had grown more confident since oil peaked above $50 per barrel earlier this year.

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Diamond's President and CEO Marc Edwards said that, for offshore drillers, the future was less certain as recovery may not be as robust as his industry peers expect.

"Although the market continues to be challenged, our focus is on striking a balance between controlling costs and laying the foundation to ensure Diamond Offshore is well positioned for the recovery," he said in a statement.

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A little more than a month into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, rival Hercules Offshore started selling off its inventory, unloading its Hercules 267 rig to an undisclosed buyer for $3.16 million.

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Hercules in June said it was returning to Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a plan to sell off all of its assets. The company already had a series of rig contracts suspended as lower crude oil prices during the first quarter left its customers with less capital to invest in exploration and production activity

The price for crude oil is threatening to drift back below $40 per barrel after moving above $50 per barrel in early 2016 as supplies continue to overshadow demand.

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