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File picture: Fire boat crews battle the blazing remnants of Transocean's Deepwater Horizon rig.


The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan bought up about 5.6 million shares of Transocean Ltd. during the second quarter, as the oil driller- owner of the well that leaked BP oil into the Gulf of Mexico- saw its stock value sink.

Teachers bought 5.56 million shares in the company, its second quarter filing shows.

That amounts to a 1.7 per cent stake in Transocean, worth about $297-million (U.S.)_based on Wednesday's closing price.

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Transocean's stock has lost nearly half of its value since the oil spill crisis first surfaced in April, when shares in the company were hovering around $90.

It closed at $53.56 Wednesday, up 3.17, or 6 per cent with over 17.7 million changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange.

Transocean owned the rig involved in the April 20 explosion - the Deepwater Horizon - which triggered the worst-ever offshore oil spill in the U.S. and sent its shares plunging.

The company has recovered some of its share value since reaching lows of close to $40 in June.

BP PLC's stock market value has also been decimated since the spill, but shares have gained some ground recently, now trading about a third lower than before the blowout.

Ontario Teachers' spokeswoman Deborah Allan would not comment on whether Teachers' is betting on a recovery of the oil driller's share price, adding that the plan doesn't comment on individual transactions.

Teachers is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada, with $96.4-billion in net assets at Dec. 31.

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It invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 289,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario.

Transocean on Wednesday reported that second-quarter net income fell 11 per cent as it lost revenue from the ill-fated oil rig it leased to BP in the Gulf of Mexico and charged lower rates for some rigs still in operation.

The world's largest offshore drilling contractor incurred after-tax costs of $69-million (U.S.) associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident. That was more than offset by $267-million in insurance payments for the lost rig.

For the second quarter, Transocean had net income of $715-million, or $2.22 a share, down from $806-million, or $2.49 a share a year ago.

Operating revenue fell to $2.5-billion from $2.9-billion.

The company has also agreed to alert the U.S. Justice Department before buying back shares or making large cash outlays.

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With files from The Associated Press

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