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Short-Term Energy Outlook October 6, 2015



  • EIA projects average U.S. household expenditures for natural gas, heating oil, and propane during the upcoming winter heating season (October 1 through March 31) will be 10%, 25%, and 18% lower, respectively, than last winter, because of lower fuel prices and lower heating demand. Forecast lower heating demand and relatively unchanged prices contribute to electricity expenditures that are 3% lower than last winter (Winter Fuels Outlook slideshow).

  • North Sea Brent crude oil prices averaged $48/barrel (b) in September, a $1/b increase from August. However, volatility remained high during September. EIA forecasts that Brent crude oil prices will average $54/b in 2015 and $59/b in 2016, unchanged from last month’s STEO. Forecast West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices average $4/b lower than the Brent price in 2015 and $5/b lower in 2016. The current values of futures and options contracts for January 2016 delivery suggest the market expects WTI prices to range from $32/b to $67/b (at the 95% confidence interval) in January 2016.

  • U.S. regular gasoline monthly retail prices averaged $2.37/gallon (gal) in September, a decrease of 27 cents/gal from August and $1.04/gal lower than in September 2014. EIA expects monthly gasoline prices to decline to an average of $2.03/gal in December 2015. EIA forecasts U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.38/gal in 2016.

  • EIA estimates that total U.S. crude oil production declined by 120,000 barrels per day (b/d) in September compared with August. Crude oil production is forecast to decrease through mid-2016 before growth resumes late in 2016. Projected U.S. crude oil production averages 9.2 million b/d in 2015 and 8.9 million b/d in 2016.

  • Natural gas working inventories were 3,538 billion cubic feet (Bcf) on September 25. This level was 15% higher than a year ago and 4% higher than the previous five-year average (2010-14) for this week. EIA projects inventories will close the injection season at the end of October at 3,956 Bcf, which would be the highest end-of-October level on record.



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