HOUSTON — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by eight this week to 923. Louisiana was up one for the week to 63, a gain of 11 from a year ago. 

The U.S. count is up from the 593 a year ago. The U.S. rig count bottomed out in May 2016 at 404.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes said Wednesday that 747 rigs sought oil and 176 explored for natural gas this week. The weekly tabulation, normally released on Friday, was distributed early this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Wyoming gained four rigs while Colorado and New Mexico and Texas, one apiece.

Utah declined by one.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were unchanged.