HOUSTON (AP) _ The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States fell by six to 1,067 this week.

Of the rigs running nationwide, 840 were exploring for gas, 226 were looking for oil and one was listed as miscellaneous, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

A year ago, the rig count was at 774.

Baker Hughes has kept track of the count since 1944. The tally peaked at 4,530 on Dec. 28, 1981, during the height of the oil boom, but set several record lows last year, bottoming out at 488 on April, 23, 1999.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained nine rigs, Louisiana four and Alaska one. Oklahoma lost 14, Wyoming five, and California and New Mexico two each.