By Mike Yamamoto of OptionMonster

NEW YORK -- Energy bulls have been on the rampage for months, and they turned to Patterson-UTI (PTEN - Get Report) at the end of last week.

OptionMonster's tracking systems detected the purchase of about 8,000 March 30 calls for 40 cents to 55 cents on Friday. The volume dwarfed the strike's previous open interest of just 81 contracts, so new money was clearly being put to work.

These calls lock in the price where the stock can be bought for the next three weeks no matter how far it might climb. This allows investors to leverage even a modest rally for much less money than buying shares directly, but the contracts will expire worthless if the stock remains below $30.

Patterson's shares rose 0.38% to $29.11 on Friday. The land driller spiked higher after reporting earnings on Feb. 6 and ran above $30 before pulling back. The energy company is scheduled to present at the Raymond James Annual Institutional Investors Conference Tuesday afternoon.

Overall option volume in the name on Friday was 21 times its daily average for the last month. Calls accounted for a bullish 82% of the total.

Yamamoto has no positions in PTEN.


This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.