US rig count drops 12 this week to all-time low of 464

HOUSTON – The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped 12 this week to 464, a record low amid continuing price woes in the energy industry.

A year ago, 1,048 rigs were active.

Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Thursday 372 rigs sought oil and 92 explored for natural gas.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost eight rigs, Oklahoma three, Alaska two and Kansas and Pennsylvania each dropped by one.

Louisiana gained two rigs and New Mexico one.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

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

The rig count, normally announced on Friday, was released a day early this week.