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Originally published March 4, 2010 at 7:36 AM | Page modified March 4, 2010 at 9:12 AM

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Natural gas levels drop less than expected

Natural gas stockpiles fell less than expected last week, the government said Thursday.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK —

Natural gas stockpiles fell less than expected last week, the government said Thursday.

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 dropped by 116 billion cubic feet to about 1.74 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Feb. 26.

Analysts expected stocks to fall between 128 billion and 132 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The inventory level was 1.2 percent above the five-year average of about 1.7 trillion cubic feet, and 3.9 percent below last year's storage level of about 1.81 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.

Natural gas prices dropped 10.2 cents, or 2 percent, to $4.655 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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