By Jason Raznick
OK, those may be harsh words. After all, BP (BP) still owns half of TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil company, though The Financial Times is reporting that OAO Rosneft has not extended a deadline for the two companies to finalize their $16 billion share swap announced earlier this year.
Assuming Rosneft, Russia's largest oil producer, doesn't want to proceed with talks with BP and TNK-BP (and who could blame Rosneft if it doesn't want to?), BP's loss could be a major gain for one of its rivals, pouring more salt in the British oil giant's wounds.
This much is clear: Russia's Arctic region is rich with oil and natural gas and Rosneft wants and needs to partner with a company that has the expertise and technology capabilities to explore in one of the harshest environments on earth.
Use these ETFs to play BP's potential replacements with Rosneft.
1) WisdomTree International Energy Sector Fund (DKA): DKA's usefulness in this scenario is two-fold. First, the ETF offers no exposure to BP. Second, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) and Total (TOT), Europe's largest and third-largest oil companies, account for roughly 21% of the ETF's weight. Either would be a suitable replacement for BP with Rosneft.
2) iShares MSCI France Index Fund (EWQ): Admittedly, Total hasn't been getting much press as a possible option for Rosneft to replace BP with, but the French company is looking to expand in Russia in a big way and would almost certainly be willing to work with Rosneft in the Arctic. Total accounts for almost 11% of EWQ's weight.
3) iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. Energy Index Fund (AXEN): Kind of a poor man's DKA, AXEN does offer BP exposure, but Shell and Total account for roughly 20% of the ETF's weight.
4) Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE): Either Exxon Mobil (XOM) or Chevron (CVX), the two largest U.S. oil companies, would make for suitable BP replacements and Rosneft would probably warm to either company, though the company has had some issues with Chevron regarding a Black Sea agreement. Like Shell, Exxon has frequently been mentioned as an option for Rosneft should BP miss out on the deal, though a Citigroup report issued last week mentioned Chevron as a possible option.