>> A land rush is under way in the US. And some of the biggest energy companies in the world are racing to stake their claim to what they hope is the future of American oil production. It's in West Texas, which sits on top of the oil-rich Permian Basin.
Reuters energy correspondent Ernest Scheyder is there.>> I'm here in Midland, Texas, where rising oil prices have fuelled a land frenzy. With more than $30 billion in deals announced in the last 12 months alone. Companies like ExxonMobil, Diamondback Energy, and Pioneer Natural Resources hope that this new Permian acreage that they're buying will help them fuel profits for years to come.
>> The Permian Basin isn't new to oil producers. In fact, it's an area that's been in production for nearly a century. But new drilling technology has made it possible to suck more oil from the Permian than ever before. And with the region's large pipeline network, warm winters, and abundant supply of equipment and talent, oil companies are profitable here even at current oil prices.
Which have been cut into half over the last two and a half years.>> The International Energy Agency estimates that oil production from US shale patches will increase in 2017. They'll be helped by pumps like the one right behind me, here in Midland. Fuelling an increase in Texas's monthly production, which already sits at more than 2 million barrels per day.
>> Midland is growing at a rapid clip as a result, while other once-booming areas, like Williston, North Dakota, have seen oil production decline. Permits for new home construction in the Midland area jumped 50% in November. And oil-related job postings have more than doubled from last March's lows.