The nation's natural gas supplies fell last week, the government said Thursday.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas in storage shrank by 100 billion cubic feet to 3.629 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Dec. 16.
Analysts expected a decline of 99 billion to 103 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 11.9 percent above the five-year average of 3.242 trillion cubic feet, and 6.9 percent above last year's level of 3.394 trillion cubic feet, according to government data.
Natural gas futures fell 4 cents to $3.112 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York.