The nation's natural gas supplies fell last week, the government said Thursday.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas in storage shrank by 80 billion cubic feet to 2.433 trillion cubic feet for the week ended March 2.
Analysts expected a decrease of 82 billion to 86 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 48.3 percent above the five-year average of 1.641 trillion cubic feet, and 43.6 percent above last year's level of 1.694 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.
Natural gas futures fell 5 cents to $2.35 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York.