February Nymex natural gas futures moved higher as it pulled into the lead position Thursday, extending gains following the supportive U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report for the week of Dec. 22.

The fresh front-month contract was trading up 8.9 cents at $2.526/MMBtu at around 10:30 a.m. ET. By 11:00 a.m. ET, February futures was 11.0 cents higher at $2.547.

The EIA reported an 87 Bcf withdrawal from Lower 48 natural gas stocks that brought the total working gas supply to 3,490 Bcf. While above most industry estimates, the pull was well below the hefty year-earlier draw of 195 Bcf and the five-year average 123 Bcf withdrawal for the week.

“Bullish!” said one participant on the online energy platform Enelyst.

Still, surpluses against the year-ago...