HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 4 this week to 557.
A year ago, 775 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have sharply curtailed oil and gas exploration.
Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 441 rigs sought oil and 114 explored for natural gas this week. Two were listed as miscellaneous.
Among major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota gained five rigs, Pennsylvania and Texas each was up two and Wyoming added one.
Colorado declined by three rigs and New Mexico lost two.
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.