US rig count down 2 this week to 506

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by two this week to 506.

A year ago, 842 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have sharply curtailed oil and gas exploration.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 416 rigs sought oil and 89 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained three rigs and Alaska was up one.

Louisiana declined by two rigs and North Dakota and Texas fell by one each.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia 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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