Investors seeking high dividends are often best served by looking outside of the United States. This is because foreign companies often offer much better dividend yields than what can be found in the United States. There are a few reasons for this, including a greater emphasis on dividends at foreign companies, fewer stock buybacks that increase the price of stocks, and preferences of foreign investors.

Dividends compared
For an example of this, let's take a look at the dividend yields of the three largest American energy companies, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips.

Company Dividend Yield
ExxonMobil 2.67%
Chevron 3.23%
ConocoPhillips 3.39%

Now, let's compare them to the yields of three large foreign energy companies, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, and Eni.

Company Dividend Yield
Royal Dutch Shell 4.56%
Total 4.77%
Eni 5.62%

Higher dividend yields do not mean lesser growth potential
As you can clearly see, the foreign oil companies have much more appetizing dividend yields than their American counterparts. Conventional wisdom would state that these companies must then have lower growth prospects. However, that is certainly not the case here. For evidence of this, let's look at an opportunity one of these foreign companies, Eni, has.

Eni's massive gas field in Mozambique
Back in 2011, Eni discovered a massive gas field off of the coast of Mozambique. Named Mamba South, the field is one of the largest in the world, containing an estimated 22.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. But that's not all. The Mamba South field is part of a much larger formation known as the Mamba Complex, which is estimated to contain at least 68 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in place. For comparison purposes, the entire Marcellus formation in the United States is estimated to contain 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. So, Eni's field in Mozambique is 80% of the size of the entire Marcellus formation! That's a lot of gas.

Poised to profit off of Asian demand growth
This field is also well positioned to supply natural gas to rapidly growing Asian markets. As you can see, Mozambique is just a relatively short trip across the Indian Ocean from both India and Southeast Asia.

Source: Geographic Guide. 

This will allow Eni to easily transport the natural gas it extracts from the field to these markets, which are universally growing their consumption of the resource.

Let's put this consumption growth into perspective. The Energy Information Administration projects that those Asian countries that are members of the OECD will increase their consumption of natural gas by 1.3% per year over the 2010 to 2040 period. But, the real consumption growth will occur in those Asian nations that are not members of the OECD. These countries will increase their natural gas consumption by an average of 3.3% per year over the 2010 to 2040 period, a growth rate that far exceeds that of any other region in the world.

Growth offers dividend support and possible dividend growth
The development of this field will help Eni support its dividend, which already far exceeds that of its American peers, allowing it to continue to deliver this payment to its investors. The development of this field will also contribute to Eni's growth, which could actually enable it to raise its dividend going forward. Eni's stated policy of progressively raising its dividend makes this outcome all the more likely.

Foolish takeaways
In conclusion, by expanding their horizons and looking outside the United States, investors can frequently find opportunities to collect dividends that are significantly better than what can be found here in this country. In addition, many of these high dividend paying companies have strong growth prospects, allowing investors to collect respectable profits from both dividends and capital appreciation. Such opportunities are always worth a look.

Daniel Gibbs has no position in any stocks mentioned. His research firm, Powerhedge LLC, has a business relationship with a registered investment advisor whose clients may have positions in any stocks mentioned. Powerhedge LLC has no positions in any stocks mentioned and is not a registered investment advisor. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and Total (ADR). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.