UPDATE 1-U.S. natgas rig count rises 14 to 394 -Baker Hughes
NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States rose by 14 this week to 394, data from Houston-based Baker Hughes showed on Friday. The rig count has risen in seven of the last 11 weeks as new investment in gas pipelines and processing plants, particularly in the East, allows producers to hook up more wells. Natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange extended losses by about 1 cent to an intraday low of $3.522 per million British thermal units following the release of the data. The rig count posted an 18-year low of 349 in late June. The oil-focused rig count fell 23 to 1,365 rigs. The oil count is down 44 rigs from the same week last year. Baker Hughes reported horizontal rigs, the type often used to extract oil or gas from shale, fell 3 to 1,075. The horizontal count is down almost 10 percent from the record high of 1,193 set in May 2012. Drilling for natural gas has mostly been in decline for the last 22 months, but so far production has barely slowed from the record high hit last year. The associated gas produced from more profitable shale oil and shale gas liquids wells has kept dry gas flowing at a brisk rate. The U.S. Energy Information Administration still expects gas output in 2013 to hit a record high for a third straight year.
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