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NEW YORK (
) -- "People are too negative and the short sellers could be wrong," Jim Cramer told viewers of his
TV show Wednesday on a live broadcast from the Bakken shale region of North Dakota, now the fourth largest oil producing state in the nation.
Cramer said that stocks rallied for a second day as the price of gold finally retreated off record highs.
What caused today's rally? Cramer said it wasn't the fundamentals, as the price of oil is still too high. He said there is still no hiring, no growth and our leaders are still nowhere to be found. But he said there was enough good news abound to make a difference.
Cramer noted that the bank stocks, particularly beleaguered
Bank of America
, a stock which he owns for his charitable trust,
Action Alerts PLUS, showed some signs of stability today. He said that
is proving that the American consumer isn't quite as bad off as many had feared. The rally was also led by the industrials, not the defensive names, another bullish sign, he said.
Cramer said with the price of gold retreating, this market may just need a little more good news to rebound off its lows and start showing some signs of strength. "We just need something else good to happen," he said.
North Dakota Booming
In a special interview, Cramer spoke with Gov. Jack Dalrymple, R., N.D., about the tremendous success his state has seen amidst the Bakken shale discovery and other growth initiatives.
Cramer noted that not only is North Dakota the fourth largest oil producing state, but it's also the largest producer of wheat and honey and well as having the nation's cheapest electric power and some of the lowest corporate taxes.
Dalrymple said that his state has been focused on creating jobs for the past 10 years. He said his state's abundant natural resources are only part of the story, as North Dakota has also created jobs in advanced manufacturing, technology, tourism as well as making great strides in agriculture.
So what's North Dakota's secret sauce? Dalrymple emphasized the need to focus on creating jobs. Second, he said it's necessary to take care of the state budget and keep money in reserve for surprises. And third, he said you must get out of the way and run your state so that it helps people instead of causing them problems.
Turning to the Bakken shale discovery, Dalrymple said that only about 15% of the Bakken's potential has been developed so far. He said there will be over 20 years of continued development in the region. He said the development will be gradual, with the focus being on developing policies to keep ahead of the growth. One such policy, he noted, is how the state gives money directly to counties and towns for building new infrastructure, a policy that saves time and red tape.
Finally, when asked what Dalrymple thinks of the state of affairs in Washington, DC, Dalrymple said he finds Washington "simply bewildering."
Cracking the Code
In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of
, one of the leading oil producers in the Bakken region.
Hamm said that everyone always knew there was oil in the Bakken region, but they simply didn't have the technology to get it. He said it took 10 years to get to this point, but drillers have finally "cracked the code" for the Bakken.
The key, it turned out, was small, "bite sized" fractures every 200 feet, said Hamm. Using up to 40 stages per well is now producing some 400,000 barrels a day in the region. "The Bakken is as big as we're saying, 24 billion barrels," said Hamm.
All that oil led to other problems, including transportation infrastructure to get the oil to where it can be used. Hamm said "thank God for rail," which is currently the primary outlet for the region until pipelines can be built.
Finally, when asked if Continental is able to lock in higher oil prices, Hamm confirmed that his company is hedging its production near $90 a barrel to lock in its cash flow and remove volatility.
Cramer said that Continental is still his favorite Bakken driller.
Lacking an Energy Plan
In a second special interview, Cramer sat down with oil tycoon Boone Pickens for an update on our nation's march towards energy independence.
Standing in front of a backdrop of four American oil rigs, Pickens pointed out that America's oil industry is doing exactly what its supposed to do, it's finding our resources, creating jobs and helping dig our nation out of what he called "the OPEC trap."
Cramer said that energy independence is no longer a pipe dream and Pickens agreed. Pickens said that "Washington simply doesn't understand what's here." North Dakota is looking for people to work, he said.
Regarding House Bill 1380, commonly known as the Natural Gas Act, Pickens said he's still hopeful the bill gets passed this year. He said the bill calls for a tax credit, not a subsidy, to convert trucks from imported diesel fuel to domestic, clean burning natural gas. After five years, he noted, the credit will end, as the nation will by then be on its way to running on its own resources.
When asked about a recent U.S. Geological Survey report citing that the Marcellus shale region in Pennsylvania is actually 80% smaller than the industry forecast, Pickens, a geologist himself, said he's never known a time when the USGS was correct in predicting reserves. He said the reserves are here, our nation just needs to use them.
In his final appeal to the American people, Pickens said that America is abundant with natural resources, yet the country has no energy plan to use them. He said America uses 25% of the world's oil, yet it has no energy plan. "That's insane," he said, "we've never had a plan and we need a plan." Pickens said he doesn't care whether that plan includes oil, gas, clean coal, nuclear or alternative energy, "just so it's American."
For his next interview, Cramer sat down with Jim Brown, president of
in the western hemisphere.
Brown said that the Bakken is all about technology, with Halliburton being among the first in 1998 to pioneer horizontal drilling techniques. He said that Halliburton now touches nearly every aspect of oil drilling.
Brown also noted that Halliburton is also hiring, with the company expecting to hire 11,000 new employees this year in North America. He said the company is looking for engineers from all disciplines, but also for MBAs, scientists and people from a host of different fields.
Cramer said Halliburton remains one of his favorite oil service stocks.
--Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.
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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Bank of America.
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