US oil and natural gas rig count drops by 40 to 988 as oil prices slump; down 29 in Texas

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HOUSTON — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 40 this week to 988 amid depressed oil prices. It was the first time the weekly count was below 1,000 since September 2009.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday 760 rigs were seeking oil and 225 explored for natural gas. Three were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,831 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas plummeted by 29 rigs, Oklahoma was down five, New Mexico by four and North Dakota dropped two. Colorado, Ohio and Wyoming declined by one each.

Arkansas and Kansas each rose by one. Alaska, California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia were all unchanged.

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

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