Natural gas increased on Friday stretching its rally to 6.9 percent since Feb. 1 and 10.6 percent this year.

Natural gas for March delivery rose by 19.9 cents, or 2.5 percent, to settle at $8.301 per million British thermal units in the afternoon, on the New York Mercantile Exchange after an earlier increase to $8.33 million Btu.

A report that was released yesterday, by the government showed a decline in U.S. supplies causing gas prices to increase.

According to the report from Weather Derivatives, of Belton, Missouri, heating needs in Midwest including Chicago were forecasted to be 71 percent above normal on Feb. 10.

Demand in the Northeast was forecasted to be 14 percent above normal.

The U.S. Energy Department said stockpiles fell by 200 billion cubic feet to 2.062 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Feb. 1.