US rig count up 4 this week to 597; Texas adds 7

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by four this week to 597.

A year ago, 737 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have curtailed exploration, although the rig count has been rising in recent weeks.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 477 rigs sought oil and 119 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Texas gained seven rigs, Wyoming increased by four and Oklahoma gained two.

Louisiana declined by four, Colorado and North Dakota each fell by two and Utah lost one.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were unchanged.

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