Natural gas stockpiles rose more than analysts expected 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 93 billion cubic feet to about 3.683 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Oct. 15.
Analysts expected a rise of between 86 billion and 90 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 8.4 percent above the five-year average of about 3.397 trillion cubic feet, and 1.3 percent below last year's storage level of about 3.731 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.
Natural gas lost 15.2 cents at $3.387 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the contract hit a 52-week low of $3.372.