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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: October 11, 2017  |  Next Release Date: November 7, 2017  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

U.S. Liquid Fuels

  • North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $56 per barrel (b) in September, an increase of $4/b from the average in August. EIA forecasts Brent spot prices to average $52/b in 2017 and $54/b in 2018, which is $1/b higher in 2017 and $2/b higher in 2018 compared with last month's forecast. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) average crude oil prices are forecast to be $3.50/b lower than Brent prices in 2018. NYMEX contract values for January 2018 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending October 5 suggest that a range of $40/b to $65/b encompasses the market expectation for January WTI prices at the 95% confidence level.
  • After reaching a two-year high of $2.69 per gallon (gal) on September 11, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices fell to an average of $2.57/gal as of October 2, as U.S. refinery capacity and gasoline production gradually came back online following Hurricane Harvey. EIA forecasts the U.S. regular gasoline retail price will average $2.49/gal in October and fall to an average of $2.33/gal in December.
  • U.S. crude oil production is estimated to have averaged 9.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in September, an increase of about 250,000 b/d from the August average. Crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is estimated to have increased to a monthly average of 1.7 million b/d in September, following Hurricane Harvey, an increase of 70,000 b/d from the August level. EIA forecasts total U.S. crude oil production to average 9.2 million b/d in 2017 and 9.9 million b/d in 2018, which would mark the highest annual average production in U.S. history, surpassing the previous record of 9.6 million b/d in 1970.
U.S. Petroleum and Other Liquids
  2015 2016 2017 2018
Crude Oil prices (dollars per barrel)
WTI Spot Average 48.67 43.33 49.69 50.57
Brent Spot Average 52.32 43.74 52.43 54.07
Imported Average 46.34 38.70 46.73 47.03
Refiner Average Acquisition Cost 48.40 40.69 48.64 49.59
Retail prices including taxes (dollars per gallon)
Regular Gasoline 2.43 2.15 2.39 2.41
Diesel Fuel 2.71 2.31 2.64 2.79
Heating Oil 2.65 2.10 2.50 2.66
Production (million barrels per day)
Crude Oil 9.41 8.86 9.24 9.92
Natural Gas Plant Liquids 3.34 3.51 3.70 4.24
Fuel Ethanol 0.97 1.00 1.03 1.04
Biodiesel 0.082 0.102 0.104 0.107
Consumption (million barrels per day)
Motor Gasoline 9.18 9.32 9.32 9.36
Distillate Fuel Oil 4.00 3.88 3.95 4.04
Jet Fuel 1.55 1.61 1.66 1.68
Total Consumption 19.53 19.69 19.92 20.34
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
U.S. Real GDP Growth 2.9 1.5 2.1 2.7
Heating Degree Days -10.2 -5.1 0.7 7.5
Distillate-weighted Industrial Production -0.2 1.7 3.2 3.2

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