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Short-Term Energy Outlook

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Short-Term Energy Outlook

October 12, 2011 Release

http://www.eia.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html

Highlights

  • EIA projects average household heating expenditures for natural gas, propane, and heating oil will increase by 3 percent, 7 percent, and 8 percent, respectively, this winter (October 1 to March 31) compared with last winter, while electricity heating expenditures fall by less than 1 percent.  Average expenditures for households that heat with oil are forecast to be higher than in any previous winter.

  • This forecast reflects higher prices for natural gas, propane, and heating oil, and slightly milder weather than last winter in much of the Nation contributing to lower consumption in many areas (see EIA Short Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook slideshow).


  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) most recent projection of heating degree-days, the lower-48 States are forecast to be 2 percent warmer during the October through March winter heating season compared with last winter. However, heating degree-day projections vary widely among regions, with the West projected to be about 3 percent colder than last winter, and the South projected to be about 5 percent warmer.


  • Forecast U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) grows by 1.5 percent this year and by 1.8 percent next year, slightly lower than in last month's Outlook.  World oil-consumption-weighted real GDP grows by 3.0 percent and 3.5 percent in 2011 and 2012, respectively, compared with 3.1 percent and 3.8 percent in the last Outlook.  EIA expects the U.S. average refiner acquisition cost of crude oil to average $99 per barrel in 2011 and $98 per barrel in 2012, compared with $100 per barrel and $103 per barrel, respectively, in the previous Outlook.

Natural gas working inventories ended September 2011 at 3.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 2.6 percent, or 91 billion cubic feet (Bcf), below the 2010 end-of-September level.  EIA expects that working natural gas inventories will approach last year's high levels by the end the injection season.  The projected Henry Hub natural gas spot price averages $4.15 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011, $0.24 per MMBtu lower than the 2010 average.  EIA expects the rate of growth in domestic natural gas production to slow in 2012, with the Henry Hub spot price averaging $4.32 per MMBtu.

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