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Energy Insights: Energy News: Is the worst yet to come for the oil patch?

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Is the worst yet to come for the oil patch?



Abigail Stevenson  @A_StevensonCNBC

Jim Cramer keeps waiting for the greasy hammer to drop on oil. He has been nervously waiting for the oil renaissance to end and bring the economy to its knees.

"I figure it is only a matter of time before the over-levered, eyes-too-big-for-their-bank-account oil men go belly up, taking tens of thousands of jobs off the table with their recklessness and rendering boom cities into ghost towns," the "Mad Money" host said.

But it just hasn't happened. Texas hasn't fallen apart and taken down the banking system, and oil producers are still pumping. Cramer has a feeling that this oil crash is different from the others. Six months into the oil crash, and the economy hasn't crumpled.

Cramer suspects that the ripple effects just haven't been that visible in the U.S. economy. He outlined a few data points that clearly mark a difference in what was expected and what actually happened.
The first difference that Cramer sees is in the oil companies. There were various earnings reports released this week, and while some were disappointing, a big majority of them are actually doing well.

After all, oil companies are just businesses. They have figured out that when they make less money, they need to cut back on spending. And that's what they did.

"They aren't about to go belly-up, they just can't make as much money as they did, and they almost all have plenty of borrowing capacity if they get in a jam," Cramer said.

Outside of oil companies, Cramer hasn't seen negative ramifications on companies like La Quinta. This hotel chain has 30 percent of its business in Texas. Yet when Cramer spoke with CEO Wayne Goldberg on Wednesday, he confirmed that they haven't been hit as hard as they thought they would.

In fact, there has been a greater benefit, thanks to lower energy bills and more travelers on the road.

And while there could be tough times ahead if oil stays at these low levels in 2016, this situation will not mark the end of the U.S. economy. Cramer thinks we won't see the dramatic effects that previously came with an oil slide.

This time around, the drilling costs have fallen dramatically, even 25 percent lower than they were a few months ago. Additionally, many oil companies have enough high-grade properties to carry themselves through 2015.

A few of the bigger oil patch companies have been hit, the way that Whiting Petroleum did on Thursday. Yet, Cramer hasn't seen any questions on liquidity for them.

The "Mad Money" host speculated that there is a boat load of private equity money waiting on the sidelines that are ready to step in when the time comes. The oil drillers are in pain right now, as exemplified by the 80 percent dividend cut announced by Ensco on Thursday. But still, Ensco is making money.

Considering that most thought an oil crash would cause the market to collapse, Cramer just hasn't seen the pain yet. There are just too many hedges, strong balance sheets and large loan capacities to allow for any real worry. Many companies seem to easily cut back, for now.

Maybe we won't endure the oil apocalypse?

"Maybe, just maybe, we won't, at least compared to the stunning positives that the price cut at the pump is giving individuals and businesses nationwide."

Questions for Cramer?
Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC 





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