HOUSTON – The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 14 this week to 553.
A year ago, 787 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have sharply curtailed oil and gas exploration.
Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 443 rigs sought oil and 108 explored for natural gas this week. Two were listed as miscellaneous.
Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained 10 rigs, Wyoming increased by three, New Mexico was up two and Alaska and Utah added one apiece.
Louisiana declined by two rigs and Colorado was off by one.
Arkansas, California, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were unchanged.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May at 404.