Natural gas stockpiles fell more than expected last week, the government said Friday.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas inventories held in underground storage in the lower 48 states dropped by 191 billion cubic feet to about 2.22 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Feb. 5.
Analysts expected a plunge of between 177 billion and 181 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 5.4 percent above the five-year average of about 2.1 trillion cubic feet, and 8.4 percent above last year's storage level of about 2.04 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.
Natural gas contracts rose 6.4 cents to $5.460 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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