Natural gas in storage rose 81 billion cubic feet in the May 26 week to 2,525 bcf. The ninth consecutive weekly build since the traditional end of the heating season was in line with forecasts and slightly higher than the 80 bcf build last year at this time. The increase put natural gas stocks 12.8 percent below the same period last year, when inventories were at extremely high levels due to consumption-curbing mild weather. But gas inventories are high compared to longer-term historical levels, remaining in the upper half of the EIA's 5-year historical range and 9.8 percent above the 5-year average. The price of natural gas futures, under heavy selling pressure and down about 20 cents from last week, fell another 4 cents to around $2.94 per MMBTu following the release of the report.