Natural gasfutures topped $3. per million BTUs for the third straight session on Friday, rising to an intraday high of nearly $3.06.
If August natural gas futures settle above $3., it would mark the first time a front-month natural gas contract has closed above this mark since January 19, when natural gas futures closed at $3.011.
Weather forecasts and a lower-than-expected increase in natural gas in storage in Thursday's report from the Department of Energy are supporting natural gas futures. While natural gas storage levels are still over 15 percent higher than historical norms, smaller and smaller increases in supply are cutting into the surplus, helping to bid up prices.According to Tradition Energy, weather forecasts, after the next five days of normal temperatures, are expected to turn warmer again with above to well-above normal temperatures expected across much of the East in the coming weeks — with the exception of the South, which will see near-normal temperatures in the beginning of August. If natural gas futures close above $3, traders say the next key technical resistance level will be $3.19.
-By CNBC's Sharon EppersonFollow Sharon on Twitter: @sharon_epperson