Houston: The oil rig count continued its downward trend in the United States this week with only 413 still operating, a leading oil field service company said.

The number of oil rigs in the country this week fell by 26, and the number of oil and gas rigs totalled 514, the lowest point since the last century, specifically 1999 when the country had 488 rigs, Xinhua cited Friday’s data released by Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest oil field services companies, as saying.

The US benchmark for oil continues to hover around $30 a barrel, and the number of rigs in the country is expected to continue falling in the first half of this year with 123 oil rigs having been mothballed in the first two months of this year alone.

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The natural gas rig count, which is at a historic low, reduced by one this week to 101 rigs, the Houston-based company said.

Texas, a major oil and gas producer in the US, has 46 percent of the country’s still operating rigs, but the Lone Star State lost 11 rigs in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford shale.

The oil rig count in the US has dropped nearly 75 percent from its peak of 1,609 in October 2014 before oil prices began falling.