The nation's natural gas supplies decreased last week, the government said Thursday.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas in storage fell by 172 billion cubic feet to 2.996 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Jan. 18.
Analysts expected a draw of 173 billion to 177 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 12 percent above the five-year average of 2.676 trillion cubic feet, and 5 percent below last year's level of 3.153 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.
Natural gas futures fell 2 cents to $3.53 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York.