Short-Term Energy Outlook December
Short-Term Energy Outlook
December 7, 2010 Release
- EIA expects the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to average about $84 per barrel this winter (October 1 to March 31), more than $6 higher than the average price last winter. Projected WTI prices rise to $89 per barrel by the end of 2011, a $2 per barrel increase from last month's Outlook, as U.S. and global economic conditions improve. EIA's forecast assumes U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) grows 2.7 percent in 2010 and 2.1 percent in 2011, while world real GDP (weighted by oil consumption) grows by 4.0 percent and 3.2 percent, in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
- EIA expects regular-grade motor gasoline retail prices to average $2.88 per gallon this winter, 22 cents per gallon higher than last winter. Projected retail diesel fuel prices average $3.14 per gallon this winter, an increase of 35 cents per gallon over last winter, while residential heating oil prices average $3.17 per gallon this winter. In 2011, higher crude oil prices combined with higher refiner margins push annual average prices for motor gasoline and diesel fuel to $3.00 and $3.23 per gallon, respectively.
- Natural gas working inventories end November 2010 at 3.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), slightly less than last year's record-setting end-of-November level. The projected Henry Hub natural gas spot price averages $4.37 per million Btu (MMBtu) for 2010, a $0.42‐per‐MMBtu increase over the 2009 average. EIA expects the Henry Hub spot price to average $4.33 per MMBtu in 2011.
- EIA expects average household expenditures for space-heating fuels to total $962 this winter, about the same as last year's expenditures. EIA projects higher expenditures for heating oil and propane, but lower expenditures for natural gas and electricity. This forecast reflects higher prices for all the fuels, although electricity prices increase by only 1 percent. However, a forecast of milder weather than last winter in all the regions, except the Northeast, leads to lower fuel consumption in those areas.
- EIA projects that U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels, which fell by 7.0 percent in 2009, will increase by 3.9 percent in 2010. In 2011, projected CO2 emissions remain relatively flat as the increase in emissions from growth in petroleum consumption is offset by a decline in emissions from natural gas and coal because of reduced summer electricity use based on a projected milder summer.