HOUSTON - The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States went up by 18 this week to 966. Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that of the rigs running nationwide, 681 were exploring for natural gas and 277 for oil. Eight were listed as miscellaneous.
A year ago, the rig count stood at 1,967.
Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana lost five rigs, New Mexico lost two and California and North Dakota each lost one. Texas gained 14 rigs, Oklahoma gained four, Alaska gained two and Arkansas and Colorado each gained one. Wyoming was unchanged.
Baker Hughes has tracked rig counts since 1944. The tally peaked at 4,530 in 1981, during the height of the oil boom. The industry posted a record low of 488 in 1999.