HOUSTON (AP) The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States dropped by 39 this week to 1,300.

Of the rigs running nationwide, 1,018 were exploring for natural gas and 269 for oil, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. A total of 13 were listed as miscellaneous.

A year ago, the rig count stood at 1,771.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost 17 rigs, Louisiana lost 9, Oklahoma and New Mexico each lost four, Arkansas, North Dakota and Wyoming each lost two, and Alaska lost one. California added two rigs. Colorado was unchanged.

Baker Hughes has tracked rig counts since 1944. The tally peaked at 4,530 in 1981, during the height of the oil boom. The industry posted several record lows in 1999, bottoming out at 488.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.