In other Nymex trading, August natural gas futures fell 14.1 cents to settle at $5.523 per 1,000 cubic feet — the lowest close since Sept. 27, 2004, when prices finished at $5.262.
The United States is awash in natural gas and some analysts believe there may not be enough underground storage capacity, potentially forcing some producers to shut wells. Others predict the falling price will spark demand and cause the supply overhang to be whittled away by fall.
The Energy Department said Friday that U.S. inventories of natural gas grew by 73 billion cubic feet last week to more than 2.6 trillion cubic feet. The five-year average for this time of year is just above 2 trillion cubic feet.