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Norwegian Good?

The only way for investors to protect themselves from weakness in the States, Cramer said on Wednesday, is by international diversification. That’s why all week he’s been highlighting the best overseas plays for Mad Money viewers. He calls it his “foreign legion portfolio.” After offering picks from both Brazil and Canada, the focus today shifted to Norway.

Cramer likes Norway’s StatoilHydro as a counter to Washington’s apparent tendency toward budget deficits, higher taxes and slow economic growth. This Scandinavian country deals in budget and trade surpluses, and it’s sitting on barrels and barrels of oil. That makes for a great jumping-off point for Statoil, which is Europe’s sixth-largest crude company and the world’s biggest offshore driller.

Statoil has exactly what investors want in an oil stock, Cramer said: production growth, low production costs, a successful history of finding new reserves and more exposure than competitors to higher crude prices. Need some numbers to back this up? How about 4% volume growth per year through 2012, 30 new discoveries in 2009 alone and expected cost cuts this year of $1.4 billion.

Plus, Statoil offers a sizable – and safe – 4.4% dividend yield. While it’s not as big as BP’s 6.5% yield or the 5.2% that Shell is paying out, STO has something these other two don’t: that high-quality exposure to gas prices. For every $1 increase on a barrel of oil, STO’s earnings per share jump 3.6%. Compare that with just 2.1% for the rest of the sector.

Cramer’s charitable trust owns BP, and he still likes the stock, but he said Statoil is the buy for anyone who believes that crude prices are headed “even just slightly higher.”

“Statoil’s a great way to diversify away from the US,” Cramer said, “and get paid a lot of dividends … to do it.”

Cramer's charitable trust owns BP.

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