Short-Term Energy Outlook January 10, 2012
This edition of the Short‐Term Energy Outlook is the first to include forecasts for 2013.
- EIA expects the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to average about $100 per barrel in 2012, $5 p er barrel higher than the average price last year. For 2013, EIA expects WTI prices to continue to rise, reaching $106 per barrel in the fourth quarter of next year. EIA’s forecast assumes that U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) grows by 1.8 percent in 2012 and 2.5 percent in 2013, while world real GDP (weighted by oil consumption) grows by 2.9 percent and 3.8 percent in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
- The forecast of average household heating expenditures for all heating fuels has been lowered from th e first forecast for the current winter published in the October 2011 Outlook, primarily as a result of the warm first half of this heating season. Average household heating oil expenditures are now expected to increase by 4 percent this winter heating season (October 1 to March 31) compared with last winter. In contrast, natural gas and propane expenditures are projected to decline by 7 percent and 1 percent, respectively, and electricity expenditures are 2 percent lower than last winter’s levels.
- EIA expects regular‐grade motor gasoline retail prices to average $3.48 per gallon in 2012, 4 cents per gallon lower than last year, and $3.55 per gallon in 2013. During the April through September peak driving season each year, prices are forecast to average about 5 cents per gallon higher than the annual average. There is regional variation in the forecast, with average expected prices on the West Coast about 25 cents per gallon above the national average during the April through September period.
· Natural gas working inventories continue to set new record highs and ended December 2011 at an estimated 3.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 12 percent above the same time last year. EIA’s average 2012 Henry Hub natural gas spot price forecast is $3.53 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), a decline of almost $0.50 per MMBtu from the 2011 average spot price. EIA expects that Henry Hub spot prices will average $4.14 per MMBtu in 2013.