Natural gas futures neared the $4.00/MMBtu mark early Thursday after long-range weather forecasts trended colder. But with models backing off the amount of frigid air in the last few days of December, the January Nymex gas futures contract settled at $3.766, off 3.6 cents on the day. February slid 4.6 cents to $3.715.

At A Glance:

  • EIA prints 154 Bcf withdrawal 
  • Warmth to follow weekend cold
  • Production nears 98 Bcf/d

Spot gas prices were mixed on messy weather patterns in the West and Midwest but mostly mild conditions elsewhere across the country. NGI’s Spot Gas National Avg. edged up 4.5 cents to $3.875.

With traders rushing for exits ahead of the holidays, liquidity has progressively thinned in recent days. Only 114,238 January Nymex contracts were traded on Thursday,...