U.S. President Obama’s historic visit July 6-8 with Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin is important for all of us and specifically for at least seven of our buy recommendations, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), Gazprom (OTCPK:OGZPY), Lukoil (OTCPK:LUKOY), Total (NYSE:TOT), BP plc (NYSE:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A). The humbling experience of a financial crisis initiated in the U.S. and the accompanying lower prices for Russia’s exports of energy ought to contribute to an atmosphere for cooperation.
COP has an apparently successful working relationship with 20% owned Lukoil including the joint development of a new oil field in Russia now contributing to production gains for both companies. Helped previously by French President Sarkozy, TOT gained recent acceptance as a 25% investor in independent Russian producer Novatek. More examples of Russian, European and U.S. companies working together efficiently might help justify higher stock prices for our recommendations.
At the same time, we are aware of the risks in Russia and elsewhere, recently measured by stock price volatility over the past year. Meanwhile, six-year oil is holding above its 40-week average ($75 vs. $70) while six-year natural gas could struggle a bit longer ($6.73 vs. $7.04) The quarter just ended can be the low point for rate of decline in energy price markers.
Originally published on July 7, 2009.