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.
With Putin’s reaction to new sanctions difficult to judge and with the prospect of a long-term squeeze on Russian oil production on the horizon, I told Jim I wouldn’t be a holder of BP stock right now.
Same thing goes, to a far lesser degree, for Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares, which have already run strongly this year. New sanctions slowing the Rosneft/Exxon Russian Arctic project are a great reason to take profits and wait on this one, too.
I talk more about this with Jim in the video above.
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.
TheStreet Ratings team rates BP PLC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate BP PLC (BP) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. You can view the full analysis from the report here: BP Ratings Report