The nation's natural gas supplies declined 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 192 billion cubic feet to 3.098 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Jan. 20.
Analysts expected a drop of 171 billion to 175 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Although last week's decline was larger than the five-year average draw of 173 billion cubic feet, the inventory level was still 21.4 percent above the five-year average of 2.551 trillion cubic feet, and 20.7 percent above last year's level of 2.567 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.
Mild winter weather has kept thermostats down and natural gas supplies high.
Natural gas futures fell 3 cents to $2.70 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York.