For the past couple years, more and more foreign energy companies are investing in the U.S. In  2012, $138 billion was invested in unconventional shale plays in the U.S., $26 billion of which came from foreign companies. A majority of this investment has come in the forms of joint ventures with U.S. exploration and production companies. On the surface, these deals don't seem to be worth the investment for these foreign companies. But by being a part of shale drilling operations gives them something that they don't have: expertise.

Thanks to the favorable regulatory framework in the U.S., many companies are given a little more freedom to experiment with drilling techniques. This has been a critical factor in U.S. companies pulling ahead as the premiere shale gas extractors. With so much practice here, these foreign companies want to learn how to do it right, so they too can tap their own shale reserves. In this video, contributor Tyler Crowe discusses some of the companies that have been spending big on foreign investment and which American companies are benefiting the most from it.

Motley Fool contributor Aimee Duffy has no position in any stocks mentioned. Motley Fool contributor Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow them both on twitter @TMFDuffy and @TylerCroweFool, respectively.

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