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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: November 7, 2017  |  Next Release Date: December 12, 2017  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

U.S. Liquid Fuels

  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are forecast to average almost $5/b lower than Brent prices in 2018. After averaging $2/b lower than Brent prices through the first eight months of 2017, WTI prices averaged $6/b lower than Brent prices in September and October. The spread between Brent and WTI prices is expected to remain at this level through the first quarter of 2018 before narrowing to $4/b during the second half of 2018.
  • EIA estimates U.S. crude oil production averaged 9.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in October, down 90,000 b/d from the September level. Crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico averaged 1.4 million b/d in October, which was 260,000 b/d lower than the September level. The lower production reflected the effects of Hurricane Nate. At the time of publication, most oil production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico had returned to operation following the hurricane, and EIA forecasts overall U.S. crude oil production will continue to grow in the coming months. EIA forecasts total U.S. crude oil production to average 9.2 million b/d for all of 2017 and 9.9 million b/d in 2018, which would mark the highest annual average production, surpassing the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970.
  • U.S. regular gasoline retail prices averaged $2.51 per gallon (gal) in October, a decrease of 14 cents/gal from the average in September, which was the highest monthly average since July 2015. The September prices reflected the effects of market disruptions following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. EIA forecasts the average U.S. regular gasoline retail price will average $2.47/gal in November and $2.39/gal in December. EIA forecasts that U.S. regular gasoline retail prices will average $2.40/gal in 2017 and $2.45/gal in 2018.
U.S. Petroleum and Other Liquids
  2015 2016 2017 2018
Crude Oil prices (dollars per barrel)
WTI Spot Average 48.67 43.33 49.70 51.04
Brent Spot Average 52.32 43.74 53.01 55.61
Imported Average 46.34 38.70 46.89 47.45
Refiner Average Acquisition Cost 48.40 40.69 48.75 50.05
Retail prices including taxes (dollars per gallon)
Regular Gasoline 2.43 2.15 2.40 2.45
Diesel Fuel 2.71 2.31 2.65 2.83
Heating Oil 2.65 2.10 2.51 2.71
Production (million barrels per day)
Crude Oil 9.41 8.86 9.23 9.95
Natural Gas Plant Liquids 3.34 3.51 3.72 4.21
Fuel Ethanol 0.97 1.00 1.03 1.04
Biodiesel 0.082 0.102 0.105 0.117
Consumption (million barrels per day)
Motor Gasoline 9.18 9.32 9.33 9.35
Distillate Fuel Oil 4.00 3.88 3.92 4.02
Jet Fuel 1.55 1.61 1.67 1.68
Total Consumption 19.53 19.69 19.85 20.26
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
U.S. Real GDP Growth 2.9 1.5 2.2 2.3
Heating Degree Days -10.2 -5.1 -1.4 10.6
Distillate-weighted Industrial Production -0.2 1.7 3.2 3.3

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