Tuesday, December 8, 2015

EIA Short Term Energy Outlook

From the Energy Information Administration:

North Sea Brent crude oil prices averaged $44/barrel (b) in November, a $4/b decrease from October. Global oil inventories are estimated to have increased by 1.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in November, putting downward pressure on Brent prices.

EIA forecasts that Brent crude oil prices will average $53/b in 2015 and $56/b in 2016. Forecast West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices average $4/b lower than the Brent price in 2015 and $5/b lower in 2016. The current values of futures and options contracts for March 2016 delivery (Market Prices and Uncertainty Report) suggest the market expects WTI prices to range from $30/b to $63/b (at the 95% confidence interval).

The monthly average price of U.S. regular retail gasoline was $2.16/gallon (gal) in November, a decrease of 13 cents/gal from October and 75 cents/gal lower than in November 2014. EIA forecasts U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.04/gal in December 2015 and $2.36/gal for 2016. 
EIA estimates that total U.S. crude oil production declined by about 60,000 b/d in November compared with October. Crude oil production is forecast to decrease through the third quarter of 2016 before growth resumes late in 2016. Projected U.S. crude oil production averages 9.3 million b/d in 2015 and 8.8 million b/d in 2016.

Natural gas working inventories were a record 4,009 billion cubic feet (Bcf) on November 20. On November 27, inventories were 16% higher than during the same week last year and 7% higher than the previous five-year average (2010-14) for that week. EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price to average $2.47/million British thermal units (MMBtu) this winter (October 2015-March 2016) compared with $3.35/MMBtu last winter.

Electricity generated from natural gas-fired power plants exceeded generation from coal-fired plants in September for the third month in a row. Before April 2015, the monthly share of total U.S. generation fueled by coal had always been larger than the natural gas share. Natural gas generation in September was 4% higher than the level generated by coal. This increased use of natural gas for electricity generation primarily reflects sustained low prices for the fuel.