- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. this week held steady at 709.

Houston’s Baker Hughes said Friday that 541 rigs were seeking oil and 168 explored for natural gas. A year ago, with oil prices more than double current prices, 1,875 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas and Pennsylvania each declined by four rigs, Louisiana was down two and Wyoming off one.

West Virginia increased by three rigs and Alaska, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma were up one apiece.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio and Utah were all unchanged.

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

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