The nation's natural gas supplies rose last week, the government said Thursday.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas in storage grew by 30 billion cubic feet to 2.606 trillion cubic feet for the week ended May 4.

Analysts expected a rise of 31 billion to 35 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The inventory level was 44.5 percent above the five-year average of 1.803 trillion cubic feet, and 44.2 percent above last year's level of 1.807 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.

Natural gas fell 2 cents to $2.53 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York.