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US oil and natural gas rig count drops by 2 to 857

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HOUSTON — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by two this week to 857.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday 631 rigs were seeking oil and 223 explored for natural gas. Three were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, with oil prices nearly double the current levels, 1,858 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma each declined by two rigs, while Ohio and Wyoming were each down by one.

Utah gained two rigs, and Alaska, North Dakota and Pennsylvania were up one apiece.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Texas and West Virginia were unchanged.

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

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