US rig count increases by 26

HOUSTON— The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 26 this week to 1,713.

Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. said today 961 rigs were exploring for natural gas and 742 for oil. Ten were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, the rig count stood at 1,141.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained nine rigs, Wyoming increased by six, Texas by four, Alaska by three and Louisiana and North Dakota each gained two. New Mexico lost two rigs, while California decreased by one. Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and West Virginia remained unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 at the height of the oil boom. It posted a record low of 488 in 1999.



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