MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures extended gains on Thursday morning, rising to the highest levels of the session after data showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. rose broadly in line with market expectations last week. Natural gas for delivery in December on the New York Mercantile Exchange rallied 4.5 cents, or 1.48%, to $3.081 per million British thermal units by 10:55 AM ET (14:55 GMT). Futures were at around $3.053 prior to the release of the supply data. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 73 billion cubic feet in the week ended October 21, matching market expectations. That compared with a gain of 77 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 62 billion a year earlier and a five-year average build of 76 billion cubic feet. Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.909 trillion cubic feet, just 1.3% higher than levels at this time a year ago and 4.7% above the five-year average for this time of year. Natural gas futures have been under heavy selling pressure in recent days as warmer-than-average weather in key gas-consuming regions in the U.S. ignited speculation that a mild winter will curtail demand for the heating fuel and leave a glut of it in storage, weighing on prices next year. Gas futures often reach a seasonal low in October, when mild weather reduces demand, before recovering in the winter, when heating-fuel use peaks.