COMMODITY / ENERGY BRIEFS

COMMODITY / ENERGY BRIEFS

COLO. AGENCY OKS

SHORTER OXYFUELS SEASONThe Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has granted a request by the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association to drop the last two weeks of February from the oxyfuels season.

The association, which represents Colorado oil companies, argued that consumers will save $3 million and air quality won't suffer.

The proposal still must be approved by the Colorado Air Quality Control

Commission, which agreed last week to schedule a hearing. The change must circulate for 60 days.

Oxygenated fuels are more expensive, but help fight the winter smog. The oil companies said the air has not come close to violating federal air-quality standards during the two weeks in February for several years.

Under current rules, gasoline sold in certain areas must contain either of two additives that help fuel burn more cleanly by increasing the oxygen content.

TOTAL US OIL-GAS RIGS

FELL BY 1 LAST WEEK

HOUSTON - The number of oil and gas rigs operating nationwide fell by one last week to 719, Baker Hughes Inc. said.

There were 779 rigs operating during the same week a year ago.

Of rigs running last week, 391 were exploring for natural gas and 305 for oil. Twenty-three rigs were listed as miscellaneous.

Baker Hughes, of Houston, has kept track of the count since 1940. The tally peaked at 4,500 in December of 1981 during the oil boom. It dropped to a record low of 596 in the summer of 1993, exceeding the previous low of 663 in 1986.