HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose this week by eight, to 1,817.

Texas-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reported Wednesday that 1,388 rigs were exploring for oil and 428 were searching for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes counted 2,000 rigs. The tally, normally released on Friday, was advanced this week because of Thanksgiving.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana gained five rigs, Pennsylvania gained four, Texas gained two and Alaska and New Mexico each gained one.

California lost three rigs while Arkansas, Colorado and Oklahoma each lost one. North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.


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