ATHENS, Greece ( TheStreet) -- DryShips ( DRYS) was a volume leader on the Nasdaq Monday after its Ocean Rig UDW subsidiary signed a $77 million contract.

DryShips' shares traded 2.6% higher Monday afternoon, to $5.33. Nearly 11 million shares were in play with two and a half hours left in the session, compared with their average daily trading volume of 17.3 million shares.

DryShips shares were among the most heavily traded shares on the Nasdaq Monday.

The company's subsidiary, Ocean Rig UDW, inked a contract with Borders & Southern Petroleum for a 2-well exploration and drilling pact in the offshore Falkland Islands area for a period of 90 days, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2011. The deal is valued at around $77 million.

There are three further optional wells that could extend the contract by 135 days.

The dry-bulk shipper and deepwater drill-ship operator recently posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

>>DryShips Tops Views; Stock Jumps

DryShips reported earnings of 18 cents per share, or $49 million. Excluding one-time items the income number would have come in at $99 million, or 38 cents per share, easily besting the consensus Wall Street estimate of 25 cents per share.

Quarterly revenue inched higher by 1.4% to $225.2 million from a year ago, also beating expectations.

The company finally made good this fall on promises regarding its long-floundering drilling business, inking contracts on several vessels that had still required financing.

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