Associated Press Wire

Feb 27, 3:08 PM EST

US rig count decreases 43 to 1,267

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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. fell by 43 this week to 1,267 amid depressed oil prices.

The Houston-based company said Friday in its weekly report that 86 rigs were exploring for oil and 280 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago 1,769 rigs were active.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota's count fell by 11, Oklahoma lost nine, Louisiana seven, Texas six, New Mexico four, Colorado three and Wyoming two. West Virginia, Ohio and Kansas dropped one each.

Alaska increased by five.

Arkansas, California, Pennsylvania and Utah were all unchanged.

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

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