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 61 billion cubic feet to 2.667 trillion cubic feet for the week ended May 11.

Analysts expected a rise of 52 billion to 56 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The inventory level was 40.8 percent above the five-year average of 1.894 trillion cubic feet, and 40.9 percent above last year's level of 1.893 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.

A year ago natural gas supplies rose by 86 billion cubic feet in the comparable week. The five-year average increase is 91 billion cubic feet.

Natural gas fell 10 cents to $2.51 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York.