HOUSTON (AP) -- The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose this week by three, to 1,809.

Texas-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) reported Friday that 1,390 rigs were exploring for oil and 417 were searching for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes counted 2,001 rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Louisiana gained five rigs, Colorado three, and California and West Virginia one each.

Alaska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania declined by two apiece, and Texas and Wyoming each fell by one. Arkansas and North Dakota were unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.