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U.S. Rig Count Unchanged at 1,700, Baker Hughes Says

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The number of rigs operating in the U.S. was unchanged from last week at 1,700, as oil rigs increased to the highest level in at least 23 years and gas rigs declined, according to data published by Baker Hughes Inc.

Oil rigs increased by 12 to 789, the highest level in data going back to 1987, Hughes said today on its website. Futures in New York settled at a 27-month high of $91.86 on Jan. 12.

Natural gas rigs dropped by 12 to 902, the lowest level since Feb. 19.

The combined oil and gas rig count rose to a 22-year high in 2008, peaking at 2,031. The gas rig count is down 44 percent from a peak of 1,606 that year.

Crude for February delivery gained 14 cents to settle at $91.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures have risen 15 percent in the past year.

Gas for February delivery rose 7.3 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $4.48 per million British thermal units on the Nymex. Futures are down 20 percent in the past year.

Baker Hughes also reported that miscellaneous rigs, which primarily drill for geothermal energy, were unchanged from the week before at nine.

Rigs on land were unchanged at 1,661, and rigs in inland waters held steady at 14.

The rig count for offshore production was 25, the same as the Gulf of Mexico. Both were unchanged from the prior week.

Canadian rigs rose by 155, or 37 percent, to 577. Canada’s count has increased by an average of 261 rigs in January for the past five years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Margot Habiby in Dallas at mhabiby@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net.

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