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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: May 10, 2016  |  Next Release Date: June 7, 2016  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Highlights


  • North Sea Brent crude oil prices averaged $42/barrel (b) in April, a $3/b increase from March. Improving economic data, growing supply disruptions, and falling U.S. crude oil production and rig counts contributed to the price increase.
  • Brent crude oil prices are forecast to average $41/b in 2016 and $51/b in 2017, $6/b and $10/b higher than forecast in last month's STEO, respectively. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are forecast to average slightly less than Brent in 2016 and to be the same as Brent in 2017. However, the current values of futures and options contracts suggest high uncertainty in the price outlook. For example, EIA's forecast for the average WTI price in August 2016 of $42/b should be considered in the context of Nymex contract values for August 2016 delivery. These contracts traded during the five-day period ending May 5 (Market Prices and Uncertainty Report) suggest the market expects WTI prices to range from $32/b to $65/b (at the 95% confidence interval) in August 2016.
  • During the April-through-September summer driving season of 2016, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.21/gallon (gal), 17 cents/gal higher than forecast in last month's STEO but 42 cents/gal lower than last summer. U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.08/gal in 2016 and $2.24/gal in 2017, 14 cents/gal higher and 24 cents/gal higher than forecast in last month's STEO, respectively.
  • U.S. crude oil production averaged 9.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015. Production is forecast to average 8.6 million b/d in 2016 and 8.2 million b/d in 2017. The 2017 forecast is about 0.1 million b/d higher than forecast in the April STEO. EIA estimates that crude oil production for the month of April 2016 averaged 9.0 million b/d, which is 0.1 million b/d below the March 2016 level, and 0.7 million b/d below the 9.7 million b/d level reached in April 2015.
  • Natural gas working inventories were 2,625 billion cubic feet (Bcf) on April 29, which was 49% higher than a year earlier, and 47% higher than the previous five-year (2011-15) average for that week. April is typically the beginning of the inventory injection season, which runs through October. EIA projects natural gas inventories will be 4,158 Bcf at the end of October 2016, which would be the highest end-of-October level on record. Henry Hub spot prices are forecast to average $2.25/million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2016 and $3.02/MMBtu in 2017, compared with an average of $2.63/MMBtu in 2015.

 

 

Price Summary
  2014 2015 2016 2017
a West Texas Intermediate.
b Average regular pump price.
c On-highway retail.
d U.S. Residential average.
WTI Crude Oila
(dollars per barrel)
93.17 48.67 40.32 50.65
Brent Crude Oil
(dollars per barrel)
98.89 52.32 40.52 50.65
Gasolineb
(dollars per gallon)
3.36 2.43 2.08 2.24
Dieselc
(dollars per gallon)
3.83 2.71 2.27 2.64
Heating Oild
(dollars per gallon)
3.71 2.65 2.12 2.55
Natural Gasd
(dollars per thousand cubic feet)
10.94 10.36 9.79 10.45
Electricityd
(cents per kilowatthour)
12.52 12.67 12.59 12.89

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