HOUSTON, Texas - The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by five this week to 1,714.
Houston, Texas-based Baker Hughes Inc. said Wednesday 931 rigs were exploring for natural gas and 771 for oil. Twelve were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, the count was 1,178.
Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained nine rigs, North Dakota gained four, California gained three and New Mexico gained one. Texas lost three rigs, Louisiana and West Virginia each lost two and Wyoming lost one. Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado and Pennsylvania were unchanged.
The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981, the height of the oil boom. The record low of 488 was in 1999.
The weekly report, normally released Fridays, moved early because of Christmas.