SHARECOMMENTMORE

HOUSTON (AP) - Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by eight this week to 1,762.

The Houston-based company said in its weekly report Friday that 1,385 rigs were exploring for oil and 370 for gas. Seven were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,809 rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained four rigs, Louisiana increased by three, Kansas and North Dakota by two, and New Mexico, Pennsylvania and West Virginia by one apiece.

Texas was down by nine and Colorado by one. Alaska, Arkansas, California, Ohio, Utah and Wyoming remained unchanged.

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

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