Steel wheels keep on turning... Photo: Reuters

US shale companies continue to drive a boom in American oil production, and their spending is beginning to pay off.

The shale producers have cut costs by around 40% over the past three years, according to the Financial Times, and are now covering their spending or close to doing so.

Bloomberg reports that US shale explorers have increased exploration budgets at 10 times the pace of the rest of the world’s producers, as they continue to post profits despite the recent fall in oil prices.

This comes as OPEC and its partners hope to prop up prices with a likely extension to production cuts signaled last week.

The Trump administration has made increasing US output a priority with officials reportedly bandying the phrase not just “energy-dependent”, but “energy-dominant”.

Wood Mackenzie analyst Roy Martin told Bloomberg that “the specter of American supply is real…the level of capital budget increases really surprised us.”