Alternative Transocean strategy: buy calls
I previously mused about selling put options on Transocean (RIG). Upon further consideration, the downside risk to the shares is rather higher than I would prefer. However, buying calls is a potential strategy. The risks are different - in buying a call, you pay a premium which is then a sunk cost. You do not own the shares if the stock price declines below the strike. Furthermore, I prefer to go with longer dated calls to give an investment thesis greater time to play out - and even then, an idea may not play out within two years. On the other hand, your downside liability is capped at the price you paid for your option.
With that in mind, I would consider buying a small number of $70 call contracts dated January 2011. By then, the damages from the spill should be known and the deepwater drilling moratorium should have expired or been lifted. Longer dated calls would normally be preferable but in Transocean's case, they are too expensive.