May 22, 1:23 PM EDT

US oil and natural gas rig count drops by 3 to 885


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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 three this week to 885.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday that 659 rigs were seeking oil and 222 explored for natural gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,857 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana lost four rigs, West Virginia declined by three and Kansas, North Dakota and Ohio each lost one.

New Mexico and Pennsylvania gained three rigs apiece, Arkansas was up by two and Oklahoma increased by one.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Texas, Utah and Wyoming were all unchanged.

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

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