‹ Analysis & Projections

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: June 6, 2017  |  Next Release Date: July 11, 2017  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures


Forecast Highlights

Global liquid fuels

  • North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $50 per barrel (b) in May, $2/b lower than the April average. EIA forecasts Brent spot prices to average $53/b in 2017 and $56/b in 2018. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are forecast to average $2/b less than Brent prices in both 2017 and 2018. NYMEX contract values for September 2017 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending June 1 suggest that a range of $39/b to $64/b encompasses the market expectation for WTI prices in September 2017 at the 95% confidence level.
  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met on May 25 and announced an extension to voluntary production cuts through March 2018 that were originally set to end in June 2017. EIA forecasts OPEC crude oil production will average 32.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2017 and 32.8 million b/d in 2018.
  • EIA forecasts that implied global petroleum and liquid fuels inventories will decline by about 0.2 million b/d in 2017 and then increase by an average of 0.1 million b/d in 2018.
  • U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.9 million b/d in 2016. U.S. crude oil production is forecast to average 9.3 million b/d in 2017 and 10.0 million b/d in 2018. The 2018 forecast exceeds the previous record level of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970.
  • For the 2017 summer driving season (April–September), U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.46/gallon (gal), compared with $2.23/gal last summer. The higher forecast gasoline price is primarily the result of a higher forecast crude oil price. The forecast annual average price for regular gasoline in 2017 is $2.38/gal.

Natural gas

  • U.S. dry natural gas production is forecast to average 73.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 1.0 Bcf/d increase from the 2016 level. This forecast increase would reverse a 2016 production decline, which was the first annual decline since 2005. Natural gas production in 2018 is forecast to be 3.3 Bcf/d above the 2017 level.
  • In May, the average Henry Hub natural gas spot price was $3.15 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), 5 cents/MMBtu higher than in April. New natural gas export capabilities and growing domestic natural gas consumption contribute to the forecast Henry Hub natural gas spot price rising from an average of $3.16/MMBtu in 2017 to $3.41/MMBtu in 2018. NYMEX contract values for September 2017 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending June 1 suggest that a range of $2.30/MMBtu to $4.41/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for Henry Hub natural gas prices in September 2017 at the 95% confidence level.

Electricity, coal, renewables, and emissions

  • Electricity generation from utility-scale plants was 11,150 gigawatthours per day in 2016. Warmer-than-normal temperatures in the first quarter of 2017 contributed to a 1.2% year-over-year decline in generation during that time. Forecast cooler summer temperatures compared with last year contribute to an expected 3.3% year-over-year decline in generation in the third quarter of 2017. Overall, forecast generation falls by 1.2% in 2017 and then grows by 1.6% in 2018.
  • EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas to fall from an average of 34% in 2016 to less than 32% in both 2017 and 2018 as a result of higher expected natural gas prices. Coal's forecast generation share rises from 30% in 2016 to 31% in 2017 and 2018. Nonhydropower renewables are forecast to provide 9% of electricity generation in 2017 and nearly 10% in 2018. The generation share of hydropower is forecast to be nearly 8% in 2017 and 7% in 2018. The nuclear share of generation remains just under 20% in both 2017 and 2018.
  • Coal exports for the first quarter of 2017 were 58% higher than in the same quarter last year, with steam coal exports increasing by 6 million short tons (MMst). Coal producers that have completed bankruptcy reorganizations and companies that purchased bankrupt assets have increased both exports and production in 2017. EIA expects growth in coal exports to slow in the coming months, with exports for all of 2017 forecast at 72 MMst, 11 MMst (19%) above the 2016 level. The increase in coal exports contributes to an expected 8% increase in coal production in 2017.
  • Wind electricity generating capacity at the end of 2016 was 81 gigawatts (GW). EIA expects wind capacity additions in the forecast will bring total wind capacity to 88 GW by the end of 2017 and 102 GW by the end of 2018.
  • Total utility-scale solar electricity generating capacity at the 2016 was 21 GW. EIA expects solar capacity additions in the forecast will bring total utility-scale solar capacity to 29 GW by the end of 2017 and 32 GW by the end of 2018.
  • After declining by 1.7% in 2016, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are projected to decrease by 0.7% in 2017 and then increase by 2.2% in 2018. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth, and energy prices.

 

Price Summary
  2015 2016 2017 2018
a West Texas Intermediate.
b Average regular pump price.
c On-highway retail.
d U.S. Residential average.
WTI Crude Oila
(dollars per barrel)
48.67 43.33 50.78 53.61
Brent Crude Oil
(dollars per barrel)
52.32 43.74 52.69 55.61
Gasolineb
(dollars per gallon)
2.43 2.15 2.38 2.43
Dieselc
(dollars per gallon)
2.71 2.31 2.66 2.81
Heating Oild
(dollars per gallon)
2.65 2.10 2.53 2.69
Natural Gasd
(dollars per thousand cubic feet)
10.36 10.06 11.02 11.19
Electricityd
(cents per kilowatthour)
12.65 12.55 13.04 13.48

Interactive Data Viewers

Provides custom data views of historical and forecast data

STEO Custom Table Builder ›
Real Prices Viewer ›


In beta testing:

STEO Data browser ›