US rig count increases by 14

HOUSTON — The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 14 this week to 1,585.

Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. said today that 982 rigs were exploring for natural gas and 591 for oil. Twelve were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, the rig count stood at 943.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana gained eight rigs, North Dakota gained four, West Virginia gained three and New Mexico, California, Colorado and Texas each gained one. Pennsylvania lost two rigs. Alaska, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming 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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