HOUSTON - The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States dropped by 57 this week to 1,243.
Of the rigs running nationwide, 970 were exploring for natural gas and 260 for oil, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. A total of 13 were listed as miscellaneous.
A year ago, the rig count stood at 1,763.
Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost 26 rigs, Louisiana, New Mexico and Colorado each lost seven, Oklahoma lost 10, North Dakota lost four, and Wyoming lost two. Alaska added four rigs and Arkansas added one. California 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 several record lows in 1999, bottoming out at 488.