The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday reported a withdrawal of 82 Bcf natural gas from underground storage for the week ended Jan. 13. The result proved steeper than expectations – though anemic compared to historic averages — and left already battered Nymex natural gas futures modestly lower.

“That’s quite the loose number once again,” said a participant on the online energy platform Enelyst.

The latest print followed a rare January injection of 11 Bcf reported a week earlier.

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Ahead of the 10:30 ET government report, the February Nymex gas futures contract was down 1.5 cents at $3.296/MMBtu. The prompt month ticked...