Release Date: December 11, 2018

Forecast Highlights

Global liquid fuels

  • Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $65 per barrel (b) in November, down $16/b from October, the largest monthly average price decline since December 2014.
  • EIA expects Brent spot prices will average $61 in 2019 and that West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will average about $7/b lower than Brent prices next year. NYMEX WTI futures and options contract values for March 2019 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending December 6, 2018, suggest a range of $36/b to $77/b encompasses the market expectation for March WTI prices at the 95% confidence level.

  • EIA estimates that U.S. crude oil production averaged 11.5 million barrels per day (b/d) in November, up 150,000 b/d from October levels because of platforms resuming normal operations after hurricane-related outages in October. EIA expects that U.S. crude oil production will average 10.9 million b/d in 2018, up from 9.4 million b/d in 2017, and will average 12.1 million b/d in 2019.
  • EIA forecasts total global liquid fuels inventories will increase by about 0.3 million b/d in 2018 and by 0.2 million b/d in 2019. Global liquid fuels production is forecast to increase by 1.4 million b/d in 2019. EIA expects production growth in the United States to be partially offset by declining production elsewhere, notably in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), where EIA forecasts that liquid fuels production will decline by 0.9 million b/d in 2019. EIA expects global liquid fuels consumption to increase by 1.5 million b/d in 2019, with growth largely coming from China, the United States, and India.

 

 

Natural Gas

  • The Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $4.15/million British thermal units (MMBtu) in November, up $0.87/MMBtu from the October average. Cold temperatures and low inventory levels contributed to the increase in price. Despite low inventory levels, EIA expects strong growth in U.S. natural gas production to put downward pressure on prices in 2019. EIA expects Henry Hub natural gas spot prices to average $3.11/MMBtu in 2019, down 6 cents from the 2018 average and down from a forecast average price of $3.88/MMBtu in the fourth quarter of 2018. NYMEX futures and options contract values for March 2019 delivery traded during the five-day period ending December 6, 2018, suggest a range of $1.85/MMBtu to $8.37/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for March Henry Hub natural gas prices at the 95% confidence level.
  • EIA estimates that U.S. natural gas storage inventories were 3.0 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at the end of November, which was 19% lower than the five-year (2013–17) average for the end of November.
  • EIA forecasts that dry natural gas production will average 83.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, up 8.5 Bcf/d from 2017. Both the level and volume growth of natural gas production in 2018 would establish new records. EIA expects natural gas production will continue to rise in 2019 to an average of 90.0 Bcf/d.