US rig count increases by 7

HOUSTON — The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 7 this week to 1,661.

Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. said today that 982 rigs were exploring for natural gas and 670 for oil. Nine were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, the rig count stood at 1,010.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained 18 rigs, Wyoming and North Dakota each gained four and New Mexico increased by one. Oklahoma lost six rigs, California dropped by four, Alaska lost three, Louisiana lost two and Colorado and Pennsylvania each lost one rig. Arkansas and West Virginia remained unchanged.

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



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