The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Friday reported a withdrawal of 187 Bcf from natural gas storage for the week ending Jan. 15. It marked the steepest withdrawal of the season and exceeded the midpoint of analysts’ estimates. But it failed to impress, and Nymex natural gas futures faltered.

storage Jan. 22

Ahead of the EIA report, the February contract was down 3.4 cents at $2.457/MMBtu. The prompt month recovered some ground to $2.472 when the EIA data was released, but momentum quickly faded. By 11 a.m. ET, the February contract was down to $2.448, off 4.3 cents from the prior day’s close.

The prompt month fell into a three-day losing streak ahead of Thursday amid weather forecasts that shifted from expectations for a severe and prolonged winter freeze in late January...