Originally created 08/14/04

Weekly U.S. rig count down by three



HOUSTON -- The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States fell by three this week to 1,232.

Of the rigs running nationwide, 1,063 were exploring for gas, 168 were looking for oil and one was listed as miscellaneous, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

A year ago, the rig count was 1,096.

Baker Hughes has kept track of the count since 1944. The tally peaked at 4,530 in 1981, during the height of the oil boom. Several record lows were set in 1999, bottoming out at 488.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained seven rigs and Alaska and Louisiana each gained three. Oklahoma lost eight rigs and New Mexico lost five. California and Wyoming were unchanged.