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If we travel backward in time looking for some of the best dividend plays around; we come to a unique spot in the oil patch a few years back. No, not the various E&P firms or even the master limited partnerships (MLPs). The biggest dividends around belonged to the deepwater drillers.

Stocks like Transocean (RIG ), SeaDrill (SDRL ) and others offered big dividends and tantalizing yields, in some cases more than 7%. However, the key word in that sentence is “offered” as in the past tense.

Since the collapse in energy prices, the deepwater drillers have suffered, and those juicy payouts went the way of the dodo. Some of the firms even experienced bankruptcies, asset sales and bailouts to stay afloat.

But with oil prices rising, some investors may be getting the feeling that the deepwater drillers could regain their former dividend glory. But don’t be fooled; we still have a long way to go before stocks like RIG or Noble (NE ) become dividend champions again.

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