US rig count up 7 this week to 447


HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by seven this week to 447.

A year ago, 857 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have sharply curtailed oil and gas exploration.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 357 rigs sought oil and 89 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico gained four rigs and Louisiana three. Colorado, Pennsylvania and Texas were up one each.

Alaska, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia declined by one rig apiece.

Arkansas, California, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wyoming were unchanged.

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

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