By Daniel Hunter

The world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, has cut its US shale gas operation by 40% as a result of falling oil prices.

By June, BHP will have reduced its number of rigs from 26 to 16. But increased productivity will boost output by 50% in that time, the firm said.

It promised not to cut dividends, despite the cut in production.

Iron ore, copper and oil, BHP's main commodities, have all seen dramatic falls in price in recent months.

Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said: "In petroleum, we have moved quickly in response to lower prices.

"The revised drilling programme will benefit from significant improvements in drilling and completions efficiency."

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Total boss Patrick Pouyanne said: "We have fields on the US East Coast and my instructions have been pretty clear - we will limit investments. But I can come back in one year when prices come back."

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness