Global Liquid Fuels
- U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.9 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2016. U.S crude oil production is forecast to average 9.2 million b/d in 2017 and 9.7 million b/d in 2018.
- Benchmark North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $55 per barrel (/b) in February, largely unchanged from the average in January.
- EIA forecasts Brent crude oil prices to average $55/b in 2017 and $57/b in 2018. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are expected to average about $1/b less than Brent prices in the forecast. NYMEX contract values for May 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending March 2 suggest that a range of $46/b – $63/b encompasses the market expectation for WTI prices in May 2017 at the 95% confidence level.
- Implied global petroleum and liquid fuels inventories increased by an estimated 0.5 million b/d in 2016. EIA expects a relatively balanced oil market in the next two years, with inventory builds averaging 0.1 million b/d in 2017 and 0.2 million b/d in 2018.
- U.S. monthly average regular gasoline retail prices are expected to increase from $2.30 per gallon (/gal) in February 2017 to $2.51/gal in July before falling to $2.24/gal by December. U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.40/gal in 2017 and $2.44/gal in 2018.
- U.S. dry natural gas production is forecast to average 73.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 1.4 Bcf/d increase from the 2016 level. This increase reverses a 2016 production decline, the first annual decline since 2005. Natural gas production in 2018 is forecast to rise by an average of 4.1 Bcf/d from the 2017 level.
- In February, the average Henry Hub natural gas spot price fell by 45 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) from the January levels to $2.85/MMBtu. Unseasonably warm temperatures in the Lower 48 states contributed to lower prices.
- New natural gas export capabilities and growing domestic natural gas consumption contribute to the forecast Henry Hub natural gas spot price rising from an average of $3.03/MMBtu in 2017 to $3.45/MMBtu in 2018. NYMEX contract values for May 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending March 2 suggest that a range of $2.15/MMBtu – $3.82/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for Henry Hub natural gas prices in May 2017 at the 95% confidence level.