Release Date: October 10, 2018

Forecast Highlights

Winter Fuels Outlook

  • EIA forecasts that average U.S. household expenditures for most major home heating fuels will be higher this winter compared with last winter. Average increases vary by fuel; natural gas expenditures are forecast to rise by 5%, home heating oil by 20%, and electricity by 3%, while propane expenditures are forecast to remain similar to last year. Most of the increase reflects higher forecast energy prices. U.S. average heating degree days are expected to be 1% higher than last winter. However, realized expenditures are highly dependent on actual weather outcomes (Winter Fuels Outlook).
  • EIA expects natural gas inventories to end October at the lowest levels for that time of year since 2005. Inventories of distillate fuel and propane are also below the five-year (2013–17) average in several regions. Although inventory levels are low, EIA expects fuel supplies to be adequate to meet winter demand.

Global liquid fuels

  • Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $79 per barrel (b) in September, up $6/b from August. EIA expects Brent spot prices will average $74/b in 2018 and $75/b in 2019. EIA expects West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will average about $6/b lower than Brent prices in 2018 and in 2019. NYMEX WTI futures and options contract values for January 2019 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending October 4, 2018, suggest a range of $60/b to $93/b encompasses the market expectation for January WTI prices at the 95% confidence level.
  • EIA estimates that U.S. crude oil production averaged 11.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in September, up slightly from August levels. EIA forecasts that U.S. crude oil production will average 10.7 million b/d in 2018, up from 9.4 million b/d in 2017, and will average 11.8 million b/d in 2019.

Natural Gas

  • EIA estimates dry natural gas production in the United States averaged 85.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in September, up 0.6 Bcf/d from August. EIA forecasts that dry natural gas production will average 82.7 Bcf/d in 2018, up by 7.9 Bcf/d from 2017 and establishing a new record high. EIA expects natural gas production will continue to rise in 2019 to an average of 87.7 Bcf/d.
  • EIA forecasts that U.S. natural gas storage inventories will total 3.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at the end of October. This level would be 14% lower than both the 2017 end-of-October level and the five-year (2013–17) average for the end of October, and it would also mark the lowest level for that time of year since 2005.
  • EIA expects Henry Hub natural gas spot prices to average $2.99/million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2018 and $3.12/MMBtu in 2019. NYMEX futures and options contract values for January 2019 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending October 4, 2018, suggest a range of $2.22/MMBtu to $4.85/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for January Henry Hub natural gas prices at the 95% confidence level.