Earlier, DryShips' Ocean Rig UDW subsidiary signed a $77 million contract with Borders & Southern Petroleum for a two-well exploration and drilling pact in the offshore Falkland Islands area for a period of 90 days, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2011.

>>DryShips Trades Higher on Drill Deal

There were 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 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.

>>DryShips Tops Views; Stock Jumps

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.

DryShips CEO George Economou issued a rosy outlook on that score as well, saying, "The ultra deepwater market has turned a corner in the last couple of months and we believe that current enquiry from operators matches or may even exceed the supply available in 2011."

Industry rival Diana Shipping ( DSX) traded lower as well Wednesday. Goldman Sachs ( GS) recently gave the shipper a healthy buy rating.

>>Diana Shipping Cruises on Buy Rating

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