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Originally published Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 7:43 AM

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Natural gas stockpiles grew more than expected

Natural gas stockpiles rose more than analysts expected last week, the government said Thursday, as demand continues to lag.

AP Energy Writer

NEW YORK —

Natural gas stockpiles rose more than analysts expected last week, the government said Thursday, as demand continues to lag.

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 rose by 124 billion cubic feet to about 2.34 trillion cubic feet for the week ended May 29.

Analysts expected an increase of 115 billion to 120 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The inventory level was 22 percent above the five-year average of about 1.91 trillion cubic feet, and 31 percent above last year's storage level of about 1.79 trillion cubic feet.

Natural gas lost 1.57 cents at $3.609 per 1,000 cubic feet in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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