All of a sudden, BP (NYSE:BP), the second-largest European oil and gas company behind Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) (NYSE:RDS-B), has a host of moving parts.

Not only is there the company's basic results -- upstream up and downstream down -- but there's now the added dimension of political intrigue worthy of best-selling author Daniel Silva's new novel, Moscow Rules. Indeed, BP's battles in Russia essentially dwarf its temporarily more mundane efforts to produce and refine oil and gas.

For the quarter ended in June, the company managed to increase its income by 28%. Upstream profits were higher by 52%, while in the downstream segment (that's refining and marketing), the income contribution shrank by 80% in the face of chintzy refinery margins. Production for the quarter was about flat, an accomplishment that's actually becoming impressive these days among the members of Big Oil.

And, while the company remains busy on a number of fronts, including the start-up of production this week in the Taurt field in Egypt and expansion of its already-big Indiana refinery, its Russian adventures are essentially defining it these days. Unfortunately for CEO Tony Hayward and his minions, the circumstances in Russia -- home to roughly a quarter of BP's production -- are certainly not promising.

So there you have it: An integrated oil company essentially performing in line with its peers in its core business. But because I'm recommending that investors not chase the majors, at least for a while, and with the company's added Russian intrigue, I'd rather that Fools look more closely at independent producers like Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) or Devon (NYSE:DVN) to fill the energy portions of their portfolios.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does, however, welcome your comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.