Superior Energy Services Operations Review

By Eric Fox | June 22, 2011 AAA

Superior Energy Services (NYSE:SPN) is a diversified oil services company with leverage to both the onshore and offshore drilling cycles. The company also offers geographic diversity for those investors concerned with the short-term nature of domestic drilling.
Superior Energy Services reports in three segments - Drilling Products and Services, Subsea and Well Enhancement and Marine.

TUTORIAL: The Industry Handbook: The Oil Services Industry

Subsea and Well Enhancement
The subsea and well-enhancement segment is the company's largest, with revenue of $1.11 billion in 2010. The company provides a number of different services here that help build out production infrastructure or stimulate production from wells. The company also offers plugging and abandonment services for non-productive wells and the decommissioning of offshore platforms.

Another company that offers plugging and abandonment services on old wells is Helix Energy Solutions Group (NYSE:HLX). The company reports revenue from these services in the contracting services business segment. (For related reading, see What Determines Oil Prices?)

Drilling Products and Services
The drilling products and services segment had revenues of $475 million in 2010. This segment comprises a number of specialized tools used in drilling, production and workover activities. The company also provides temporary accommodations for workers at both onshore and offshore locations.

More than 60% of revenues in 2010 in this segment came from the sale or rental of accommodations, drill pipe and stabilization tools. (Drilling rigs work in a similar fashion as a hand drill. For more, see Oil And Gas Industry Primer.)

Marine
The Marine segment is the company's smallest with revenues of $94.2 million in 2010. Superior Energy Services owns a fleet of 25 lift boats that support offshore oil and gas infrastructure. The company reported utilization rates on these units ranging from 41.4% to 83.3% in the first quarter of 2011.

Another company that operates a fleet of lift boats is Hercules Offshore (Nasdaq:HERO). The company owns 65 lift boats that operate in both domestic and international waters. The company reported average utilization of 56% for its domestic lift boat fleet and 64% for its international fleet in April 2011. (For related reading, see A Primer On Offshore Drilling.)

Diversification
Superior Energy Services is also a geographically diversified oil services company with revenue from the onshore United States, Gulf of Mexico and international areas. In 2010, Superior Energy Services reported $676 million in revenue derived from operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The company reported $540 million in revenue from the onshore United States and $465 million in the international space.

This operational and geographical diversity is the result of a long-term strategy to move the company away from its dependence on one area. In 2003, almost all revenue was derived from operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

One oil service company that has not diversified outside the United States is Basic Energy Services (NYSE:BAS), which currently operates mostly in Texas and Oklahoma.

The Bottom Line
Superior Energy Services has exposure to land drilling in the United States as well as activity in the Gulf of Mexico. The company also has a substantial component of its business in the international space. (For related reading, see Oil: A Big Investment With Big TaxBreaks.)

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