Transocean (RIG) shares rose on Wednesday and were the top performer among S&P energy stocks after the firm hired General Electric's (GE) Oil & Gas unit to boost production on seven of the driller's rigs over the next decade.
"This agreement builds on the new service model we introduced last year to address today's industry shift toward maximizing productivity and lowering operating costs while also maintaining operating flexibility," GE Oil & Gas CEO Lorenzo Simonelli said in the release. "When cost and risk are at the top of operators' minds, we share the responsibility by investing in equipment uptime and performance."
Shares of the Swiss offshore driller closed up about 4%, or 61 cents, to $15.75 per share. The company has been on an epic run since about September when the prospects of a production cut by OPEC became more probable and the price of oil began to tick up past $40 per barrel.
On Friday, Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed their buy rating and $17 price target on the company's shares. The firm named Transocean among its best picks for 2017 due to, in part, its asset-light strategy.
Most Wall Street analysts and energy experts say that oil prices are set to continue to rise in 2017.
They predict that OPEC production cuts will stick and that an improved economy under a Trump presidency will increase demand, Richard Suttmeir said, writing for the Street this week, but he takes a bit of a contrarian view.
One reason for concern, wrote Suttmeir, "is that five speculative oil services stocks have been lagging crude oil. Diamond Offshore (DO) , McDermott (MDR) , Noble (NE) , Transocean and Tidewater (TDW) did not begin 2017 anywhere near their 52-week highs."
He added: "All five remain in bull market territory vs. their 2016 lows, but only McDermott has been outperforming oil. Transocean lags McDermott, but both set 52-week highs on Dec. 12."