The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday reported a withdrawal of 221 Bcf natural gas from underground storage for the week ended Dec. 30. The result, while massive relative to historic norms, fell shy of expectations and left Nymex natural gas futures deep in negative territory.

Ahead of the 10:30 ET government report, the February futures contract was down 33.8 cents at $3.834/MMBtu. The prompt month slid to $3.755 when the EIA data was released.

By 11 a.m. ET, it had recovered some but was still down 36.0 cents to $3.812.

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Prior to the report, projections submitted to Reuters ranged from withdrawals of 153 Bcf to 269...