Monday, October 15, 2012

U.S. Energy Administration Report Released: Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook

Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report titled, Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook (2012).  The 34-page report which is available here, was released on Oct. 10, 2012.  Highlights for this report include the following:
  • EIA projects average household expenditures for heating oil and natural gas will increase by 19 percent and 15 percent, respectively, this winter (October 1 through March 31) compared with last winter. Projected household expenditures are 5 percent higher for electricity and 13 percent higher for propane this winter. Average expenditures for households that heat with heating oil are forecast to be higher than any previous winter on record (see EIA Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook slideshow
  • The forecast for higher household expenditures primarily reflects a return to roughly normal winter temperatures east of the Rocky Mountains compared with last winter's unusual warmth. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) most recent projection of heating degree days, the Northeast, Midwest, and South will be about 2 percent warmer than the 30-year average (1971 - 2000), but still 20 percent to 27 percent colder than last winter, while the West is projected to be only about 1 percent colder than last winter.
  • Projected residential heating oil prices average 2 percent higher and natural gas prices 1 percent higher this winter. Winter average electricity and propane prices average about 2 percent and 4 percent lower than last winter, respectively.
  • EIA expects U.S. total crude oil production to average 6.3 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2012, an increase of 0.7 million bbl/d from last year. Projected U.S. domestic crude oil production increases to 6.9 million bbl/d in 2013, the highest level of production since 1993.
  • Forecast U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) grows by 2.2 percent this year and by 1.7 percent next year. Projected world oil-consumption-weighted real GDP grows by 2.7 percent and 2.5 percent in 2012 and 2013, respectively, similar to last month's Outlook. EIA expects Brent crude oil prices to fall from recent highs over the rest of 2012, averaging $111 per barrel over the fourth quarter of 2012 and $103 per barrel in 2013. EIA expects WTI spot prices to average $93 per barrel in 2013, with the WTI discount to Brent narrowing to $9 per barrel by the end of 2013.
  • Natural gas working inventories ended September 2012 at an estimated 3.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 8 percent above the same time last year. EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $4.00 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011, to average $2.71 per MMBtu in 2012 and $3.35 per MMBtu in 2013.

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