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Short-Term Energy Outlook
June 7, 2011 Release
- World benchmark crude oil prices reached their highest level of this year at the end of April, fell by about 10 percent by May 9 and have changed very little since then. EIA still expects oil markets to tighten through 2012 given projected world oil demand growth and slowing growth in supply from countries that are not members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The projected U.S. refiner crude oil average acquisition cost rises from $104 per barrel in 2011 to $108 per barrel in 2012, about the same as last month's Outlook.
§ Regular-grade retail gasoline price averaged about $3.96 per gallon during the first half of May as unexpected refinery outages and disruptions in distribution caused by the flooding of the Mississippi River and its tributaries temporarily counterbalanced the impact of lower crude oil prices. In recent weeks, gasoline prices have been falling, however, as the refinery situation has begun to recover. EIA expects the May average price of $3.91 per gallon will be the peak monthly average price this driving season. Still, EIA forecasts that the regular-grade motor gasoline retail price will average $3.75 per gallon during this summer's driving season (from April 1 through September 30), up from $2.76 per gallon last summer, but 6 cents per gallon lower than last month's Outlook.
- Natural gas working inventories ended May 2011 at 2.2 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 10 percent, or 245 billion cubic feet (Bcf), below the 2010 end-of-May level. EIA expects that working gas inventories will build strongly during the summer and approach record-high levels in the second half of 2011. The projected Henry Hub natural gas spot price averages $4.25 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011, $0.13 per MMBtu lower than the 2010 average. EIA expects the natural gas market to begin tightening in 2012, with the Henry Hub spot price increasing to an average of $4.58 per MMBtu.
Posted: June 7, 2011
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