Petroleum & Other Liquids


Market Prices and Uncertainty Report

Released: August 12, 2014

A regular monthly supplement to the Short-Term Energy Outlook with analysis of crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas, and propane prices. (archived versions)

Short-Term Energy Outlook - Petroleum Section

Released: August 12, 2014

Short-term petroleum supply, demand, and price projections.

Issues in International Energy Consumption Analysis: Chinese Transportation Fuel Demand

Released: July 1, 2014

Assumptions to the Annual Energy Outlook

Released: June 11, 2014

This report presents the major assumptions of the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) used to generate the projections in the Annual Energy Outlook, including general features of the model structure, assumptions concerning energy markets, and the key input data and parameters that are the most significant in formulating the model results.

U.S. Crude Oil Production Forecast-Analysis of Crude Types

Released: May 29, 2014

This paper provides a short-term forecast of domestic production by crude type, supplementing the overall production forecast provided in STEO. Forecasts of production by crude type matter for several reasons. First, U.S. crude streams vary widely in quality. Second, the economics surrounding various options for the domestic use of additional domestic oil production are directly dependent on crude quality characteristics. Third, actual or potential export values also vary significantly with quality characteristics.

International Energy Outlook - Petroleum Section

Released: July 25, 2013

International petroleum projections through 2040.

Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States

Released: June 10, 2013

This report provides an initial assessment of shale oil resources and updates a prior assessment of shale gas resources issued in April 2011. It assesses 137 shale formations in 41 countries outside the United States, expanding on the 69 shale formations within 32 countries considered in the prior report.

Annual Energy Outlook - Petroleum Section

Released: May 2, 2013

Petroleum projections to 2040.

Supplemental Tables to the Annual Energy Outlook

Released: May 1, 2013

The Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) Supplemental tables were generated for the reference case of the AEO using the National Energy Modeling System, a computer-based model which produces annual projections of energy markets. Most of the tables were not published in the AEO, but contain regional and other more detailed projections underlying the AEO projections.

2010 Outlook for Hurricane-Related Production Outages in the Gulf of Mexico - Short-Term Energy Outlook Supplement:

Released: June 1, 2010

Projected impacts to Gulf of Mexico crude oil and natural gas production for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

CAFE Standards (released in AEO2010)

Released: May 11, 2010

Pursuant to the Presidents announcement of a National Fuel Efficiency Policy, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the EPA have promulgated nationally coordinated standards for tailpipe Carbon Dioxide (CO2)-equivalent emissions and fuel economy for light-duty vehicles (LDVs), which includes both passenger cars and light-duty trucks. In the joint rulemaking, the Environmental Protection Agency is enacting CO2-equivalent emissions standards under the Clean Air Act (CAA), and NHTSA is enacting companion Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Factors Affecting the Relationship between Crude Oil and Natural Gas Prices (released in AEO2010)

Released: May 11, 2010

Over the 1995-2005 period, crude oil prices and U.S. natural gas prices tended to move together, which supported the conclusion that the markets for the two commodities were connected. Figure 26 illustrates the fairly stable ratio over that period between the price of low-sulfur light crude oil at Cushing, Oklahoma, and the price of natural gas at the Henry Hub on an energy-equivalent basis.

Probabilities of Possible Future Prices (Released in the STEO April 2010)

Released: April 1, 2010

The Energy Information Administration introduced a monthly analysis of energy price volatility and forecast uncertainty in the October 2009 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). Included in the analysis were charts portraying confidence intervals around the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) futures prices of West Texas Intermediate (equivalent to light sweet crude oil) and Henry Hub natural gas contracts.

Outlook for Non-OPEC Oil Supply in 2010-2011 (Released in the STEO January 2010)

Released: January 2, 2010

Two large categories define the world's producing countries of crude oil and other liquid fuels (hereafter liquids): those that are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and those that are outside that group (non-OPEC). This article takes a closer look at the latter category.

2009 Outlook for Hurricane Production Outages in the Gulf of Mexico, The (Released in the STEO June 2009)

Released: June 1, 2009

Projected impacts to Gulf of Mexico crude oil and natural gas production for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season.

Impact of Limitations on Access to Oil and Natural Gas Resources in the Federal Outer Continental Shelf (released in AEO2009)

Released: March 31, 2009

The U.S. offshore is estimated to contain substantial resources of both crude oil and natural gas, but until recently some of the areas of the lower 48 states Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) have been under leasing moratoria. The Presidential ban on offshore drilling in portions of the lower 48 OCS was lifted in July 2008, and the Congressional ban was allowed to expire in September 2008, removing regulatory obstacles to development of the Atlantic and Pacific OCS.

Natural Gas and Crude Oil Prices in AEO (released in AEO2009)

Released: March 31, 2009

If oil and natural gas were perfect substitutes in all markets where they are used, market forces would be expected to drive their delivered prices to near equality on an energy-equivalent basis. The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil generally is denominated in terms of barrels, where 1 barrel has an energy content of approximately 5.8 million Btu. The price of natural gas (at the Henry Hub), in contrast, generally is denominated in million Btu. Thus, if the market prices of the two fuels were equal on the basis of their energy contents, the ratio of the crude oil price (the spot price for WTI, or low-sulfur light, crude oil) to the natural gas price (the Henry Hub spot price) would be approximately 6.0. From 1990 through 2007, however, the ratio of natural gas prices to crude oil prices averaged 8.6; and in the Annual Energy Outlook 2009 projections from 2008 through 2030, it averages 7.7 in the low oil price case, 14.6 in the reference case, and 20.2 in the high oil price case.

Expectations for Oil Shale Production (released in AEO2009)

Released: March 31, 2009

Oil shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that contain relatively large amounts of kerogen, which can be converted into liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons (petroleum liquids, natural gas liquids, and methane) by heating the rock, usually in the absence of oxygen, to 650 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit (in situ retorting) or 900 to 950 degrees Fahrenheit (surface retorting). (Oil shale is, strictly speaking, a misnomer in that the rock is not necessarily a shale and contains no crude oil.) The richest U.S. oil shale deposits are located in Northwest Colorado, Northeast Utah, and Southwest Wyoming. Currently, those deposits are the focus of petroleum industry research and potential future production. Among the three states, the richest oil shale deposits are on federal lands in northwest Colorado.

World Oil Prices and Production Trends in AEO2009 (released in AEO2009)

Released: March 31, 2009

The oil prices reported in Annual Energy Outlook 2009 (AEO) represent the price of light, low-sulfur crude oil in 2007 dollars. Projections of future supply and demand are made for "liquids," a term used to refer to those liquids that after processing and refining can be used interchangeably with petroleum products. In AEO2009, liquids include conventional petroleum liquids -- such as conventional crude oil and natural gas plant liquids -- in addition to unconventional liquids, such as biofuels, bitumen, coal-to-liquids (CTL), gas-to-liquids (GTL), extra-heavy oils, and shale oil.

California's Move Toward E10 (released in AEO2009)

Released: March 31, 2009

In Annual Energy Outlook 2009, (AEO) E10–a gasoline blend containing 10% ethanol–is assumed to be the maximum ethanol blend allowed in California erformulated gasoline (RFG), as opposed to the 5.7% blend assumed in earlier AEOs. The 5.7% blend had reflected decisions made when California decided to phase out use of the additive methyl tertiary butyl ether in its RFG program in 2003, opting instead to use ethanol in the minimum amount that would meet the requirement for 2.0% oxygen content under the Clean Air Act provisions in effect at that time.

Regulations Related to the Outer Continental Shelf Moratoria and Implications of Not Renewing the Moratoria (released in AEO2009)

Released: March 13, 2009

From 1982 through 2008, Congress annually enacted appropriations riders prohibiting the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the U.S. Department of the Interior from conducting activities related to leasing, exploration, and production of oil and natural gas on much of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Further, a separate executive ban (originally put in place in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush and later extended by President William J. Clinton through 2012) also prohibited leasing on the OCS, with the exception of the Western Gulf of Mexico, portions of the Central and Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and Alaska. In combination, those actions prohibited drilling along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and in portions of the central Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-432) imposed yet a third ban on drilling through 2022 on tracts in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that are within 125 miles of Florida, east of a dividing line known as the Military Mission Line, and in the Central Gulf of Mexico within 100 miles of Florida.

Impacts of Uncertainty in Energy Project Costs (released in AEO2008)

Released: September 24, 2008

From the late 1970s through 2002, steel, cement, and concrete prices followed a general downward trend. Since then, however, iron and steel prices have increased by 8% in 2003, 10% in 2004, and 31% in 2005. Although iron and steel prices declined in 2006, early data for 2007 show another increase. Cement and concrete prices, as well as the composite cost index for all construction commodities, have shown similar trends but with smaller increases in 2004 and 2005.

World Oil Prices and Production Trends in AEO2008 (released in AEO2008)

Released: June 26, 2008

Annual Energy Outlook 2008 (AEO) defines the world oil price as the price of light, low-sulfur crude oil delivered in Cushing, Oklahoma. Since 2003, both "above ground" and "below ground" factors have contributed to a sustained rise in nominal world oil prices, from $31 per barrel in 2003 to $69 per barrel in 2007. The AEO2008 reference case outlook for world oil prices is higher than in the AEO2007 reference case. The main reasons for the adoption of a higher reference case price outlook include continued significant expansion of world demand for liquids, particularly in non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, which include China and India; the rising costs of conventional non-OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) supply and unconventional liquids production; limited growth in non-OPEC supplies despite higher oil prices; and the inability or unwillingness of OPEC member countries to increase conventional crude oil production to levels that would be required for maintaining price stability. The Energy Information Administration will continue to monitor world oil price trends and may need to make further adjustments in future AEOs.

Outlook for Non-OPEC Oil Supply Growth in 2008-2009 (Released in the STEO February 2008)

Released: February 1, 2008

In 2008-2009, the Energy Information Administration expects that non-OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) petroleum supply growth will surpass that in recent years because of the large number of new oil projects scheduled to come online during the forecast period.

Fuel Economy Standards for New Light Trucks (released in AEO2007)

Released: February 22, 2007

In March 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards requiring higher fuel economy performance for light-duty trucks in model year (MY) 2008 through 2011. Unlike the proposed CAFE standards discussed in Annual Energy Outlook 2006, which would have established minimum fuel economy requirements by six footprint size classes, the final reformed CAFE standards specify a continuous mathematical function that determines minimum fuel economy requirements by vehicle footprint, defined as the wheelbase (the distance from the front axle to the center of the rear axle) times the average track width (the distance between the center lines of the tires) of the vehicle in square feet.

World Oil Prices in AEO2007 (released in AEO2007)

Released: February 22, 2007

Over the long term, the Annual Energy Outlook 2007 (AEO) projection for world oil prices -- defined as the average price of imported low-sulfur, light crude oil to U.S. refiners -- is similar to the AEO2006 projection. In the near term, however, AEO2007 projects prices that are $8 to $10 higher than those in AEO2006.

Federal and State Ethanol and Biodiesel Requirements (released in AEO2007)

Released: February 22, 2007

The Energy Policy Act 2005 requires that the use of renewable motor fuels be increased from the 2004 level of just over 4 billion gallons to a minimum of 7.5 billion gallons in 2012, after which the requirement grows at a rate equal to the growth of the gasoline pool. The law does not require that every gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel be blended with renewable fuels. Refiners are free to use renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, in geographic regions and fuel formulations that make the most sense, as long as they meet the overall standard. Conventional gasoline and diesel can be blended with renewables without any change to the petroleum components, although fuels used in areas with air quality problems are likely to require adjustment to the base gasoline or diesel fuel if they are to be blended with renewables.

Impacts of Rising Construction and Equipment Costs on Energy Industries (released in AEO2007)

Released: February 22, 2007

Costs related to the construction industry have been volatile in recent years. Some of the volatility may be related to higher energy prices. Prices for iron and steel, cement, and concrete -- commodities used heavily in the construction of new energy projects -- rose sharply from 2004 to 2006, and shortages have been reported. How such price fluctuations may affect the cost or pace of new development in the energy industries is not known with any certainty, and short-term changes in commodity prices are not accounted for in the 25-year projections in Annual Energy Outlook 2007. Most projects in the energy industries require long planning and construction lead times, which can lessen the impacts of short-term trends.

Impacts of Increased Access to Oil & Natural Gas Resources in the Lower 48 Federal Outer Continental Shelf (released in AEO2007)

Released: February 22, 2007

This analysis was updated for Annual Energy Outlook 2009 (AEO): Impact of Limitations on Access to Oil and Natural Gas Resources in the Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The OCS is estimated to contain substantial resources of crude oil and natural gas; however, some areas of the OCS are subject to drilling restrictions. With energy prices rising over the past several years, there has been increased interest in the development of more domestic oil and natural gas supply, including OCS resources. In the past, federal efforts to encourage exploration and development activities in the deep waters of the OCS have been limited primarily to regulations that would reduce royalty payments by lease holders. More recently, the states of Alaska and Virginia have asked the federal government to consider leasing in areas off their coastlines that are off limits as a result of actions by the President or Congress. In response, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the U.S. Department of the Interior has included in its proposed 5-year leasing plan for 2007-2012 sales of one lease in the Mid-Atlantic area off the coastline of Virginia and two leases in the North Aleutian Basin area of Alaska. Development in both areas still would require lifting of the current ban on drilling.

Summer 2006 Motor Gasoline Prices (Released in the STEO July 2006)

Released: July 1, 2006

This supplement to the July 2006 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) examines the various factors that have contributed to this summer's high gasoline prices and discusses how they may continue to impact markets over the next several months.

Changing Trends in the Refining Industry (released in AEO2006)

Released: February 1, 2006

There have been some major changes in the U.S. refining industry recently, prompted in part by a significant decline in the quality of imported crude oil and by increasing restrictions on the quality of finished products. As a result, high-quality crudes, such as the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude that serves as a benchmark for oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), have been trading at record premiums to the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) Basket price.

Update on Transition to Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel Fuel (released in AEO2006)

Released: February 1, 2006

On November 8, 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator signed a direct final rule that will shift the retail compliance date for offering ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) for highway use from September 1, 2006, to October 15, 2006. The change will allow more time for retail outlets and terminals to comply with the new 15 parts per million (ppm) sulfur standard, providing time for entities in the diesel fuel distribution system to flush higher sulfur fuel out of the system during the transition. Terminals will have until September 1, 2006, to complete their transitions to ULSD. The previous deadline was July 15, 2006.

World Oil Prices in AEO2006 (released in AEO2006)

Released: February 1, 2006

World oil prices in the Annual Energy Outlook 2006 (AEO) reference case are substantially higher than those in the AEO2005 reference case. In the AEO2006 reference case, world crude oil prices, in terms of the average price of imported low-sulfur, light crude oil to U.S. refiners, decline from current levels to about $47 per barrel (2004 dollars) in 2014, then rise to $54 per barrel in 2025 and $57 per barrel in 2030. The price in 2025 is approximately $21 per barrel higher than the corresponding price projection in the AEO2005 reference case.

Energy Technologies on the Horizon (released in AEO2006)

Released: February 1, 2006

A key issue in mid-term forecasting is the representation of changing and developing technologies. How existing technologies will evolve, and what new technologies might emerge, cannot be known with certainty. The issue is of particular importance in Annual Energy Outlook 2006 (AEO), the first AEO with projections out to 2030.

Nonconventional Liquid Fuels (released in AEO2006)

Released: February 1, 2006

Higher prices for crude oil and refined petroleum products are opening the door for nonconventional liquids to displace petroleum in the traditional fuel supply mix. Growing world demand for diesel fuel is helping to jump-start the trend toward increasing production of nonconventional liquids, and technological advances are making the nonconventional alternatives more viable commercially. Those trends are reflected in the Annual Energy Outlook 2006 projections.

Economic Effects of High Oil Prices (released in AEO2006)

Released: February 1, 2006

The Annual Energy Outlook 2006 projections of future energy market conditions reflect the effects of oil prices on the macroeconomic variables that affect oil demand, in particular, and energy demand in general. The variables include real gross domestic product (GDP) growth, inflation, employment, exports and imports, and interest rates.

World Oil Price Cases (released in AEO2005)

Released: February 1, 2005

World oil prices in Annual Energy Outlook 2005 are set in an environment where the members of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) are assumed to act as the dominant producers, with lower production costs than other supply regions or countries. Non-OPEC oil producers are assumed to behave competitively, producing as much oil as they can profitability extract at the market price for oil. As a result, the OPEC member countries will be able effectively to set the price of oil when they can act in concert by varying their aggregate production. Alternatively, OPEC members could target a fixed level of production and let the world market determine the price.

Environmental Regulations and Changes in Petroleum Refining Operations (Released in the STEO June 1998)

Released: June 1, 1998

Changes in domestic refining operations are identified and related to the summer Reid vapor pressure (RVP) restrictions and oxygenate blending requirements. This analysis uses published Energy Information Administration survey data and linear regression equations from the Short-Term Integrated Forecasting System (STIFS). The STIFS model is used for producing forecasts appearing in the Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Oxygenate Supply/Demand Balances in the Short-Term Integrated Forecasting Model (Released in the STEO March 1998)

Released: March 1, 1998

The blending of oxygenates, such as fuel ethanol and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), into motor gasoline has increased dramatically in the last few years because of the oxygenated and reformulated gasoline programs. Because of the significant role oxygenates now have in petroleum product markets, the Short-Term Integrated Forecasting System (STIFS) was revised to include supply and demand balances for fuel ethanol and MTBE. The STIFS model is used for producing forecasts in the Short-Term Energy Outlook. A review of the historical data sources and forecasting methodology for oxygenate production, imports, inventories, and demand is presented in this report.

Reformulated Gasoline Foreign Refinery Rules (Released in the STEO January 1998)

Released: January 2, 1998

On August 27, 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated revised the rules that allow foreign refiners to establish and use individual baselines, but it would not be mandatory (the optional use of an individual refinery baseline is not available to domestic refiners.) If a foreign refiner did not establish and use an individual baseline, the gasoline they export to the United States would be regulated through the importer, and subject to the importer's baseline (most likely the statutory baseline). Specific regulatory provisions are implemented to ensure that the option to use an individual baseline would not lead to adverse environmental impacts. This involves monitoring the average quality of imported gasoline, and if a specified benchmark is exceeded, remedial action would be taken by adjusting the requirements applicable to imported gasoline.

Refiners Switch to RFG Complex Model

Released: January 2, 1998

On January 1, 1998, domestic and foreign refineries and importers must stop using the "simple" model and begin using the "complex" model to calculate emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), toxic air pollutants (TAP), and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from motor gasoline. The primary differences between application of the two models is that some refineries may have to meet stricter standards for the sulfur and olefin content of the reformulated gasoline (RFG) they produce and all refineries will now be held accountable for NOx emissions. Requirements for calculating emissions from conventional gasoline under the anti-dumping rule similarly change for exhaust TAP and NOx. However, the change to the complex model is not expected to result in an increase in the price premium for RFG or constrain supplies.

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