NEW YORK (AP) -- Natural gas stockpiles rose more than expected last week, according to a government report released Thursday.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration's weekly report showed natural gas inventories held in underground storage in the lower 48 states rose by 33 billion cubic feet to about 3.14 trillion cubic feet for the week ended July 6.
Analysts expected an increase of between 24 billion and 28 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 19.7 percent above the five-year average of about 2.62 trillion cubic feet, and 21.2 percent higher than last year's storage level of 2.59 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.
Natural gas dropped by 9 cents to $2.763 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.