About $461 million was due to the acquisition last year of rival Pride International but Ensco also benefited from higher levels of rig utilisation and higher average day rates in both deepwater and jackup segments of the drilling market.
Ensco's net income for the first quarter was $265.4 m, up from $64.6 m last year,
Additions to its ultra-deepwater fleet also helped to push up the cash pile, Ensco indicated in its first quarter results statement.
“Customer demand for offshore drilling continues to strengthen,” declared Ensco's chairman, chief executive and president Dan Rabun.
Rabun said two new builds rig entered service in the first quarter, the Ensco DS-6 drillship was contracted with BP for an initial five-year term and semi-submersible Ensco 8506 started a two and a half year contract with Anadarko during the first quarter. Also Ensco has decided to order another newbuild ultra-deepwater drillship, to be named Ensco DS-8, and it has options for two more, taking the company's new construction programme up to six rigs.
Deepwater revenue reached $549 million in first quarter this year, up from $98 million a year ago. That figure includes revenue from two new ultra-deepwater semi-submersibles, Ensco 8503 and 8504, while another unit, the 7500, started a multi-year contract in Brazil in late December 2011 after an upgrade.
In the jackup market, Ensco's revenues was $365 m, up by $102 m or 39%, from $263 m a year ago, driven by higher utilisation and average day rates. Jackup utilisation was up to 84% from 72% in the first quarter 2011, with an average dayrate of $99,000 compared with $97,000 in the first quarter 2011.