NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I was talking to Stephanie Link today about the mixed bag of oil services companies. Some have floundered while others, particularly Halliburton (HAL - Get Report) and Helmerich & Payne (HP - Get Report), have soared.
What's been the difference? First we have to distinguish between onshore and offshore drilling services. Here in the United States, there's been a rapid increase in the number of onshore horizontal wells being drilled in fast-growing shale plays in the Eagle Ford and Permian.
Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico offshore there has been a fast-growing number of newly built rigs available for drilling but often going without work. That disconnect has made onshore services the place to be in 2013, but only selectively -- some oil services companies have really prospered with the explosion of new shale drilling, while others are clearly underperforming.
The trick now is to find one of the underperforming players ready to benefit from the shale boom and see its shares benefit as well.
While I'd most like to buy Helmerich & Payne on a dip, particularly because it's a name I liked so much in 2011 and somehow forgot about, I also like some other land-based services companies that haven't yet done much. Precision Drilling Services (PDS) is engaged mostly in Canada but supplies some unique services to the oil sands sector. Also, Nabors (NBR) has also shown some recent life, finally trading convincingly above $20 a share.
I talk more about oil services stocks with Stephanie in the video above.
At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Action Alerts PLUS, of which Link is co-manager, had no positions in stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.