Natural Gas Surges on Bullish Storage Report

Natural gas futures soared more than 5 percent on Thursday after a government report showed storage levels rose last week by a smaller amount than many analysts had expected.

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The front-month September contract immediately rallied nearly 20 cents to a session high of $3.12 per million BTUs, the highest price in a week.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported natural gas in storage increased by 24 billion cubic feet (bcf) last week, smaller than the 27 to 31 bcf refill forecast in Platts' analysts survey. (Track Oil and Natural Gas Prices Here)

Last week's injection to storage was also below the 31 bcf increase this time last year or the 45 bcf build for the five-year average.

But CitiFutures analyst Tim Evans, who had forecast a 23 bcf increase for the week, said "this was nearly in line with our model's weather-based projection, so it looks as though others were looking for a further bearish shift based on other factors such as pipeline operations or coal-fired power generation that apparently failed to materialize."

—By CNBC's Sharon Epperson. Follow Sharon on Twitter: @sharon_epperson