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An oil and gas drilling rig operating in the Permian Basin near Farmington, New Mexico, USA. (Image courtesy of Encana Corp)

US rig count drops to 443 this week, Texas loses 7

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by seven this week to 443, another all-time low amid depressed energy industry prices.

A year ago, 988 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 354 rigs sought oil and 89 explored for natural gas.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost seven rigs and North Dakota two. Alaska, California and Kansas each dropped one.

Ohio and Oklahoma gained two rigs apiece, while New Mexico was up one.

Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. The previous low of 488 set in 1999 was eclipsed March 11, and has continued to dip.

In related news, Stacked rigs and their impact on oil prices.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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