Atwood Oceanics is awarded contracts, through a competitive bidding process, in which it rents its offshore drilling rigs out to oil & gas drilling & exploration companies for a set rate. To increase operating margins, ATW must maximize the number of days its rigs are on contract (utilization rate).
Compared to competitors such as Noble (NE) and Transocean (RIG) who have over 50 and 135 rigs, respectively, ATW has a small fleet.  Therefore, Atwood still has significantly fewer rigs under contract compared to its competitors, despite its near perfect utilization rates, keeping its overall revenue lower.
In 2009, ATW generated $250.7 in net income on $586.5 million in total revenues. This represents a 16.4% increase in net income and a 11.4% increase in total revenues from 2008, when the company earned $328.2 million on revenue of $526.6 million.
Atwood operates four types of rigs:
Extreme oil prices also make deep-water drilling economically feasible for the major oil companies. Atwood cannot fully capitalize on this as its fleet's biggest semi-submersibles (Atwood Eagle, Hunter, Falcon, Southern Cross) only drill to 5,000 feet while strong competitors such as Transocean (RIG) and Noble (NE) can tap into deep basins with 12,000 foot rigs.  However, Atwood does have orders in place with Jurong Shipyard for two semi-submersibles with at least one being able to reach 10,000 feet. 
Atwood competes with several other offshore drilling companies for contracts. Due to its small fleet, ATW is dwarfed by its competitors in rig quantity and revenue. Atwood's main competitors include: