Utilities pulled 81 Bcf of natural gas from storage for the week ended Feb. 24, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday. The result proved slightly steeper than forecasts but anemic relative to averages, driving Nymex natural gas futures into the red.

Ahead of the 10:30 ET release, the April futures contract was essentially flat around $2.810/MMBtu. The prompt month lost a penny from the prior day’s close to $2.801 when the EIA data was posted.

By around 11 a.m. ET, it was off 3.5 cents on the day at $2.776.

[How much more U.S. natural gas storage capacity is needed — and is it on the way? Join NGI’s Director of Strategy & Research Patrick Rau, as he dives into what’s around the corner in terms of natural gas storage and the market fundamentals dr