US rig count down by 18 this week

The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by 18 this week to 1,721.

Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday that 906 rigs were exploring for gas and 805 for oil. Ten were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, the count was 1,346.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota gained two rigs and Texas gained one.

Oklahoma declined by six rigs, Colorado lost four, Louisiana dropped two, and Alaska, Arkansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wyoming each lost one rig. California and West Virginia remained unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981, the height of the oil boom. The record low of 488 was in 1999.