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Jul 17, 4:23 PM EDT

US oil and natural gas rig count down 6 to 857


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 six this week to 857.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday 638 rigs were seeking oil and 218 explored for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,871 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico gained one rig apiece.

Louisiana declined by three rigs, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas were down two each, and California and Oklahoma were off by one each.

Arkansas, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

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

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