NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Most of the offshore drillers are trading up on a bullish Thursday morning for the sector, but Pride International is declining on its Thursday earnings, and gave a sober outlook on the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on the drilling business.

It was a mixed morning for earnings from oil drillers, though. Hornbeck Offshore Services ( HOS), which had a big victory in the news when its case against the federal government's ban on offshore drilling led to a court reversal, added a Street win on Thursday morning, surpassing earnings estimates by 34 cents. Hornbeck reported revenue of $111 million, versus a Street estimate of $95 million. Hornbeck spiked early on Thursday, but almost all of its earnings beat gains had been erased by mid-morning.

Pride International reported in-line earnings and revenue of 32 cents per share and $350 million. The results were in the middle of the range previously provided by the oil driller.

Revenue was sequentially higher from deepwater activity, but earnings from deepwater segment slipped slightly.

Pride International's comments about the moratorium on offshore drilling -- revised and implemented again by the federal government after the Hornbeck case -- could be a cause for concern.

Pride said in its offshore drilling commentary that the "intermediate-term outlook for the deepwater sector has become increasingly unclear.... Even before the incident, the sector was faced with challenges resulting from the combination of lower client demand, stemming largely from uncertainty surrounding the strength of the worldwide economic recovery, and expanding sector capacity.

The driller said day rates may suffer due to the heightened uncertainty, and "clients are displaying a tendency to wait and see if further day-rate softness develops before making near-term incremental deepwater rig commitments." The relocation of rigs from the Gulf of Mexico is having a negative impact on global deepwater day rates, too.

While the moratorium is currently expected to expire on November 30, 2010, Pride cautioned that it does not expect activity levels to increase substantially in the region until well into 2011.

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.

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