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Transocean185Shares of Transocean (RIG) were scooped up by two different funds … Icahn Associates and Appaloosa Management. Both already had positions in the oil and gas explorer, but felt the need to add more. But why?

To give credit where it’s due, a bunch of Transocean’s drilling rigs have renewed their leases at rates higher than the recently-ended contracts were yielding. The problem is, day-rates on rigs are likely to slide again in the foreseeable future, as a great deal of capacity — globally — is close to becoming available.

Meanwhile, the state of Texas has filed a lawsuit against BP and Transocean over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That could mean up to a $350 million fine payable between the two companies, and the case is fairly damning. Even if Texas doesn’t prevail, court cases can nag a company to its knees. Throw in the fact that Carl Icahn is now Chairman of the Board, and there’s more than enough disruption to accelerate the downtrend that RIG started this week.

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