‹ Analysis & Projections

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: May 9, 2017  |  Next Release Date: June 6, 2017  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures


Forecast Highlights

Global liquid fuels

  • North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $52 per barrel (b) in April, $1/b higher than the March average and the fifth consecutive month that Brent crude oil spot prices averaged between $50/b and $55/b. EIA forecasts Brent prices to average $53/b in 2017 and $57/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 August 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending May 4 suggest that a range of $37/b to $63/b encompasses the market expectation for WTI prices in August 2017 at the 95% confidence level.
  • Implied global petroleum and liquid fuels inventories are estimated to have increased by 0.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2016. EIA forecasts inventory builds to average 0.2 million b/d in 2017 and then increase to an average of 0.5 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 almost 10.0 million b/d in 2018. EIA estimates that crude oil production for April 2017 averaged 9.1 million b/d, which is 0.2 million b/d above the April 2016 level and 0.6 million b/d above the recent monthly average low reached in September 2016.
  • For the 2017 summer driving season (April through September), U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.39/gallon (gal), compared with $2.23/gal last summer. The higher forecast gasoline price is primarily the result of higher forecast crude oil prices. The annual average price for regular gasoline in 2017 is forecast to be $2.34/gal, which, if realized, would result in the average U.S. household spending about $160 more on motor fuel in 2017 compared with 2016.

Natural gas

  • U.S. dry natural gas production is forecast to average 74.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 1.8 Bcf/d increase from the 2016 level. This increase reverses a 2016 production decline, which was the first annual decline since 2005. Natural gas production in 2018 is forecast to be 3.2 Bcf/d more than the 2017 level.
  • In April, the average Henry Hub natural gas spot price was $3.10 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), 22 cents/MMBtu above the March level. 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 $3.17/MMBtu in 2017 to $3.43/MMBtu in 2018. NYMEX contract values for August 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending May 4 suggest that a range of $2.47/MMBtu to $4.49/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for Henry Hub natural gas prices in August 2017 at the 95% confidence level.

Electricity, coal, renewables, and emissions

  • Total U.S. electricity generation from utility-scale power plants averaged 11,150 gigawatthours per day in 2016. Forecast generation declines by 1.2% in 2017 and then grows by 1.9% in 2018. EIA expects the annual average U.S. residential electricity price to increase by 2.4% in 2017 and by 2.3% in 2018.
  • EIA expects growth in demand for U.S. coal exports to contribute to a 5% increase in coal production in 2017. Forecast growth in coal-fired electricity generation leads to an additional 1% increase in coal production in 2018. EIA estimates the delivered coal price averaged $2.11/MMBtu in 2016, a 5% decline from the 2015 price. Coal prices are forecast to increase in 2017 and 2018 to $2.16/MMBtu and $2.22/MMBtu, respectively.
  • Wind energy capacity at the end of 2016 was 81 gigawatts (GW). EIA expects wind capacity additions in the forecast will bring total wind capacity to 102 GW by the end of 2018.
  • Total utility-scale solar generation capacity is forecast to increase by 48% from 21 GW at the end of 2016 to 32 GW at the end of 2018. Utility-scale solar electricity generation is forecast to account for more than 1% of total utility-scale electricity generation in 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 2.3% 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 50.68 55.10
Brent Crude Oil
(dollars per barrel)
52.32 43.74 52.60 57.10
Gasolineb
(dollars per gallon)
2.43 2.15 2.34 2.45
Dieselc
(dollars per gallon)
2.71 2.31 2.65 2.84
Heating Oild
(dollars per gallon)
2.65 2.10 2.54 2.75
Natural Gasd
(dollars per thousand cubic feet)
10.36 10.06 10.98 11.11
Electricityd
(cents per kilowatthour)
12.65 12.55 12.85 13.15

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 ›

Related Articles    
Today In Energy Daily
2017 Summer Fuels Outlook Apr-2017 PDF
2016-2017 Winter Fuels Outlook Oct-2016 PDF
2016 Summer Fuels Outlook Slideshow Apr-2016 PDF
2015-2016 Winter Fuels Outlook Slideshow Oct-2015 PDF
2015 Summer Fuels Outlook Slideshow Apr-2015 PDF
2014-2015 Winter Fuels Outlook Slideshow Oct-2014 PDF
Weather Sensitivity in Natural Gas Markets Oct-2014 PDF
2014 Outlook for Gulf of Mexico Hurricane-Related Production Outages Jun-2014 PDF
2014 Summer Fuels Outlook Slideshow Apr-2014 PDF
EIA Estimates of Crude Oil and Liquid Fuels Supply Disruptions Sep-2013 PDF
Summer 2013 Outlook for Residential Electric Bills Jun-2013 PDF
more...