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Sep 30, 2:05 PM EDT

US rig count up 11 this week to 522


HOUSTON (AP) -- The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 11 this week to 522.

A year ago, 809 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have sharply curtailed oil and gas exploration.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 425 rigs sought oil and 96 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, New Mexico gained three rigs and North Dakota was up two. Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and West Virginia increased by one apiece.

Texas declined by one rig.

California, Kansas, Ohio, Utah 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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