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

FILE - In this May 7, 2012 file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Haiyang Shiyou oil rig, the first deep-water drilling rig developed in China, is pictured at 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Hong Kong in the South China Sea. Vietnam said on its Foreign Ministry's website late Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, China has moved an oil rig into disputed waters in the South China Sea in a move that could result in a repeat the 2014 stand-off between the communist neighbors. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Jin Liangkuai, File) NO SALES

HOUSTON (AP) – 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.

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