If there's been any solace for Americans and American investors over the past few years it's been: at least we're not Europe.
And while there are plenty of concerning trends in the United States right now, we still have a substantial edge over Europe, for what it's worth.
What is it worth? Well, Europe still needs "stuff." They still need oil, and coal and natural gas. They still need iron, copper and gold.
The fact that Europe is plagued by staggering ineptitude, corruption, socialism and a really lousy currency doesn't change the fact that Frenchies gotta eat their fromage and Fins gotta heat their homes.
How inept are they?
Well, for one small yet relevant example.
Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS) along with a handful of other international oil companies have been trying to develop the Corrib gas field off the west coast of Ireland for nearly 15 years. Today, a story in The Financial Times announced that RDS and a few partners will invest another $1 billion+ to bring the field into production by 2014.
For perspective, consider that Petrohawk Energy discovered its Eagle Ford gas field region of Louisiana and Texas in 2008, and the area is already in development and production.
Say what you will about fracking, about President Obama and environmentalists trying to put the brakes on American energy development – we're actually doing it!
We're producing more oil and gas domestically than we were just five years ago. That's a significant development given that many energy economists believed our production was doomed to fall.
There's an energy renaissance in certain specific areas of the United States. The biggest opportunity is still in the Bakken region. Small companies or "wildcats" are drilling new wells every day.
While Europe is still asleep at the wheel, American energy explorers and drillers are hitting it big.
It's not too late to get started in this sector. Decades of production are ahead for most of the areas of the Bakken. If you're interested in what's going on their now, take a look at this free write-up that we've put together on the opportunity in the Bakken region.