Better sit down for this one. Just in case you faint easily (although if you've been following this story over the past few months, that's unlikely): ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) won Wednesday's auction for a 7.6% stake in longtime Russian oil partnerLukoil.

The writing was actually pretty well graven into the wall on this one, with Russian President Putin publicly "wishing Conoco success" in the auction back in July. Still, the winning bid may come as a bit of a shock to U.S. investors familiar with the run-ups in bidding common on, say, your typical eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) auction. The starting price for the Lukoil stake was $1.93 billion (imputing to Lukoil, the world's third-largest oil company by reserves, a market value of $25 billion). The winning bid: $2 billion -- a 3.6% markup over the starting price -- boosted Lukoil's market value to $26 billion.

For comparison, the No. 2 world oil company, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), has just 10% more in proven reserves (22 billion barrel equivalents) than Lukoil, but sells for $310 billion, or about 10 times Lukoil's market cap. Sounds like somebody got themselves a bargain on Russian oil yesterday.

But for Conoco investors, the story gets even better. First off, Lukoil is offering another 2.4% stake at the same winning auction bid of $30.76 a share. Conoco is expected to snap that up, and then proceed to ultimately acquire a total 20% stake in Lukoil, according to the terms of an agreement signed yesterday.

As a significant stakeholder, and one whose interest in the company is expected to grow in the future, Conoco also received some management powers from yesterday's buy. One Conoco director will sit on Lukoil's board, and Conoco will likely be awarded additional board seats as it increases its stake in the Russian oil giant.

International investment flows both ways. The Fool has also covered several stories on Russian companies investing in America recently. For more on the other side of the story, read:

Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article.