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Natural Gas Prices Rise on Inventory Report

Natural gas prices are rising Thursday after the government reports an inventory rise that was slightly short of expectations.



) -- Natural gas prices were rising Thursday after the government reported an inventory rise that was slightly short of expectations.

According to a weekly appraisal released by the Energy Information Administration, natural gas storage levels rose by 73 billion cubic feet for the week ended September 17. Natural gas stocks were expected to see a net injection between 77 billion and 81 billion cubic feet, according to the Platts survey of analysts.

The October natural gas contract on the Nymex was gaining 7 cents, or 1.9%, to $4.03 per million British thermal units. The November natural gas contract was rising 6 cents or 1.5% to $4.154 per million British Thermal Unit.

At 3.3 trillion cubic feet, total working gas in storage was within the five-year average, the report said.

Crude futures were falling on Thursday, a day after the Energy Department reported

an unexpected rise in crude oil inventories. The November crude oil contract was slipping 30 cents to $74.41 a barrel. The November heating oil contract was losing a penny to $2.11 a gallon while the gasoline for November delivery was flat at $1.89 per gallon.

Oil stocks were trading lower amid overall market weakness. The NYSE Arca Oil Index was down 0.1% while the Philadelphia Oil Services Index was down 0.7%. Dow stocks

Exxon Mobil

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(CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report

were declining by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively.

Shares of

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Petroleo Brasileiro

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or Petrobras were surging 3.6% to $ 35.90 ahead of details of the price of its $75 billion share offer. A


report said the Brazilian Government might boost its stake in the oil major through the offer.

-- Written by Shanthi Venkataraman in New York

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