BHP cuts US shale rigs as oil to iron ore prices slip

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the biggest overseas investor in US shale, will cut the number of its rigs there by about 40% as plunging petroleum prices add to concerns about lower iron ore earnings. Drilling and development spending on US onshore oil and gas fell to $1.9 billion in the six months to December 31 from $2.1 billion a year ago, the Melbourne-based company said today in a statement. BHP will cut the number of active rigs to 16 from 26 by July, it said. Brent crude, a benchmark for more than half of the world’s oil, declined 48 percent last year as increasing output in the US contributed to a global glut.