HOUSTON (AP) -- The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. leaped by 35 this week to 694.

A year ago, 637 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 551 rigs sought oil and 142 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Texas jumped by 17 rigs, Oklahoma increased by seven, North Dakota was up three and Ohio two. New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia increased one apiece.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana and Wyoming were all unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May at 404.


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