US rig count up 5 this week to 593; Pennsylvania up 4

HOUSTON – The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by five this week to 593.

A year ago, 744 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have curtailed exploration although the rig count has been rising in recent weeks.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said 474 rigs sought oil and 118 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Pennsylvania gained four rigs, Texas three and Colorado two.

Wyoming declined by three, New Mexico two and North Dakota one.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May at 404.

The weekly tally, normally released Friday, was released Wednesday because of Thanksgiving.