US rig count increases by 9 to 1,492

HOUSTON (AP) - The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by nine this week to 1,492.

Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 953 rigs were exploring for natural gas and 528 for oil. Eleven were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, the rig count stood at 928.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained seven rigs, New Mexico picked up three and Colorado added two. Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming each gained one.

California, Louisiana and West Virginia each lost one, while Arkansas and Oklahoma lost two apiece. Pennsylvania was unchanged.

The rig count tally peaked at 4,530 in 1981, during the height of the oil boom. The industry posted a record low of 488 in 1999.