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May 20, 3:59 PM EDT

US rig count drops 2 this week to 404, another all-time low


HOUSTON (AP) -- The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by two this week to 404, another all-time low amid low energy prices.

A year ago, 885 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 318 rigs sought oil and 85 explored for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas declined by eight rigs while Kansas and North Dakota were down one each.

Louisiana gained seven rigs and Colorado and Oklahoma were up one apiece.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. The previous low of 488 set in 1999 was eclipsed March 11, and has continued to slide.

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