The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States slid by 13 this week to 948, oil services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.
The gas-directed rig count, which had gained in the previous two weeks, hit 992 in mid-August, its highest since February 2009, when there were 1,018 rigs drilling for gas.
Horizontal rigs -- the type most often used to extract oil or gas from shale -- were unchanged for the week, holding at the record high of 966 hit last week.
Analysts estimate that two-thirds of horizontal rigs are drilling for natural gas, and these comprise part of the overall rig count. The rest are drilling for oil.