The Russian Portrait
Before you dive into Russia consider this: as it is, Russia is a dysfunctional play on high oil prices as well as commodities.
Gazprom is a unique case since it seems the whole country's foreign policy is written in the Gazprom HQ for the benefit of Gazprom and Gazprom alone. When one of the former republics has a dispute with the company about its pipelines or prices, the Russian foreign ministry gets involved. I guess the fact that Gazprom is owned in part by Russian government and remains one of the largest sources of tax revenue in the country certainly makes it Mother-Russia's business.
Gazprom's play is limited to several factors: it's a cheap stock (if you trust the reserve numbers); it has been raising natural gas prices in former Soviet republics to market rates; in some cases it is receiving shares of local gas distribution companies in lieu of payment. But in the long-run, I wouldn't bet on higher production from Gazprom because its capital expenditures are allocated from the Kremlin, whose objectives are more short-term oriented.
Current Russian prosperity is completely driven by high commodity prices. Take the $60 oil away and what you get is a very backwards economy, poor infrastructure (especially outside Moscow and St. Petersburg - two cities that are swimming in oil money), very high pension liabilities that the country accrued to its seniors during the Soviet days, corrupt local governments and a fairly unstable political system.
If you are interested in playing on high commodity prices you might consider (non-Russian) oil services stocks (e.g. GSF, HAL, SLB, BJS etc.) - it's the same reward or better and lower risk.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Daily Recap Newsletter