Natural gas futures edged higher on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies rose in line with market expectations last week. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in August was up 0.21% at $2.665 per million British thermal units. Prices were at around $2.670 prior to the release of the supply data. In its weekly report the Energy Information Administration said natural gas storage in the week ended September 11 rose by 73 billion cubic feet, in line with expectations Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3,334 bcf the EIA said. Stocks were 456 bcf higher than last year at this time and 125 bcf above the five-year average of 3,209 bcf for this time of year. EIA data shows that power plants account for approximately 32% of gas demand in the U.S. Demand for natural gas tends to fluctuate in the summer based on hot weather and air conditioning use. Elsewhere on the Nymex, crude oil for delivery in October was steady at $47.18 a barrel, while heating oil for October delivery slid 0.64% to $1.5316 per gallon.