Natural gas stocks post surprise increase

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2009 10:35 AM

Natural gas stockpile levels rose again to a new record high last week, the government said Thursday.

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 grew by 2 billion cubic feet to about 3.84 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Nov. 27.

Analysts had expected no change in natural gas storage inventories, or possibly a draw as high as 4 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The inventory level was 14.5 percent above the five-year average of about 3.35 trillion cubic feet, and 14 percent above last year's storage level of about 3.37 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.

Natural gas fell 4.6 cents to $4.484 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.