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Jan 13, 4:11 PM EST

US rig count down 6 this week to 659


HOUSTON (AP) -- The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by six this week to 659.

A year ago, 650 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have curtailed exploration, although the rig count has been rebounding in recent months.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 522 rigs sought oil and 136 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Wyoming increased by two rigs and Louisiana by one.

Oklahoma and Texas each declined by two rigs. Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania fell by one each.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and West Virginia were all unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May at 404.

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