Natural gas stockpile levels fell for the first time since July, 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 dropped by 64 billion cubic feet to about 3.77 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Dec. 4.
Analysts had expected a draw of between 44 billion and 48 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 15.7 percent above the five-year average of about 3.26 trillion cubic feet, and 14.3 percent above last year's storage level of about 3.3 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.
Natural gas rose 32.7 cents to $5.225 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.