NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I was talking to Jim Cramer today about the latest round of sanctions that the U.S. has applied to Russia and the possible effects on the oil and gas markets and oil stocks.
These latest sanctions, which target further investment of U.S. companies in Russian oil projects were surprisingly stiff and could not have been expected by Russian President Vladimir Putin. They include restrictions to the US and EU credit markets and will prevent any further increases in Russian oil and gas production.
That will have a huge effect on the Russian economy as 44% of the Russian revenue come from gas and oil. Russia truly is a "petro-state" in the same way that Saudi Arabia is, and it will be critical to see how Putin reacts to this very serious round of sanctions.
Will he lessen his support of Russian separatists in the Eastern Ukraine and look for a rapproachment with the newly elected government in Kiev? Or will he react nationalistically and look to retaliate with "restrictions" of his own -- specifically with oil and gas deliveries to the EU, which still relies on Russia for 40% of its energy needs?
For U.S. stocks, there are specific targets that will be negatively affected by these sanctions. BP (BP) still has a large investment in Rosneft, the largest Russian oil company. Despite reducing its exposure in the last two years, BP's stake in Rosneft was still significant enough to induce a negative guidance from the company in their latest quarterly report.