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Transocean Has the Highest Backlog among Its Peers

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Backlog-to-revenue ratio

Not all offshore drilling (XLE) companies are the same size, which means some companies’ backlogs are a few million, while others’ are only a few billion.

The difference makes it hard to compare companies, so it’s better to compare backlogs as percentages of revenue. The higher the backlog-to-revenue ratio, the better the future revenue.

In an industry downturn, especially like the one offshore drillers are experiencing, it’s crucial to have a high backlog. Since securing new contracts has become difficult, a higher backlog means a higher chance of survival in a downturn, and vice versa.

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Comparison method

To compare backlogs across companies, we’ve calculated the total backlog reported at the end of 4Q16 as a percentage of trailing-12-month revenue.

Transocean has the highest backlog

Transocean’s (RIG) contracts stretch out to 2028. It has one of the highest average contract durations, giving it a high backlog. Its backlog-to-revenue ratio is 316%, the highest among its peers. This ratio has risen compared to 273% in the previous quarter. 

Diamond Offshore Drilling’s (DO) backlog-to-trailing-12-month revenue ratio is 236%. Only RIG and DO have ratios of more than 200%.

Low ratios

Atwood Oceanics’ (ATW) backlog has fallen the most among its peers. Atwood’s backlog-to-revenue ratio is 79.0%, the lowest among its peers.

Seadrill’s (SDRL) ratio of 88% is the next lowest. Ensco (ESV), Ocean Rig (ORIG), and Rowan Companies (RDC) have ratios of 130%, 91%, and 92%, respectively.

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