HOUSTON (AP) - Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. this week declined by 13 to 744.

HOUSTON (AP) Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. this week declined by 13 to 744.

Houston's Baker Hughes said Wednesday that 555 rigs were seeking oil and 189 explored for natural gas. A year ago, with oil prices almost double the prices now, 1,917 rigs were active. The tally, normally released on Friday, was advanced this week because of Thanksgiving.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost six rigs while Alaska, California, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wyoming each lost one.

New Mexico gained two rigs and Oklahoma gained one.

Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio, Utah and West Virginia were unchanged.

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