Natural gas stockpiles fell last week, the government said Thursday, although they remained above the five-year average.
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 111 billion cubic feet to about 1.63 trillion cubic feet for the week ended March 5.
Analysts expected a draw of between 108 billion and 112 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 1.2 percent above the five-year average of about 1.61 trillion cubic feet, and 4.2 percent below last year's storage level of about 1.7 trillion cubic feet, according to government data.
Natural gas lost 8.8 cents at $4.471 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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