Natural-gas futures settled lower Wednesday ahead of a weekly report that is expected to show a larger-than-average increase in U.S. gas inventories.

Natural gas for October delivery settled 6.8 cents, or 1.8%, lower at $3.759 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The benchmark October contract expired at settlement Wednesday. Futures for November delivery fell 7.6 cents to $3.799 mm/Btu.

Gas futures fell ahead of a weekly report from the U.S. Energy Department, which analysts predict will show 102 billion cubic feet of gas were added to storage last week.

Last year, 73 bcf were injected into storage during the similar survey week, while the five-year average build for the week is 71 bcf.

The report is due to be released at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday.

Despite rising more than 12 cents in the past two trading sessions, gas futures are moderating as temperatures throughout the U.S. began to moderate in what is known as the "shoulder season," the period between peak demand for air conditioning and heating.

High output levels combined with mild weather are keeping prices well below the $4 mm/btu level reached earlier in September, when storms temporarily halted some production in the Gulf of Mexico.