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US oil and natural gas rig count drops by 7 to 868

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HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by seven this week to 868.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday 642 rigs were seeking oil and 222 explored for natural gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, with oil prices nearly double the current levels, 1,860 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost five rigs and Colorado and New Mexico each declined by two. Arkansas, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania dropped one apiece.

Louisiana gained three rigs, West Virginia was up two, and California and Kansas rose by one each.

Alaska, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming were unchanged.

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

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