U.S. Energy Information Administration officials that are responsible for statistics and analysis recently revealed projections for the near future, based on factors such as diesel fuel, electricity, heating oil and natural gas prices over the past year.
Expectations for the impending winter heating season -- Oct. 1 through March 31 -- indicate that average American household expenditures for natural gas, heating oil and propane will be, respectively, 10 percent, 25 percent and 18 percent lower than last winter due to lower fuel prices coupled with lower heating demand.
The EIA forecasts that crude oil prices from the North Sea Brent area, which averaged $48 per barrel in September, will average $54 per barrel in 2015 and $59 in 2016, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is anticipated to run $4 per barrel lower than the 2015 Brent price and $5 per barrel lower than the 2016 Brent price.
Gasoline projections are optimistic, continuing the recent trend of lower prices per gallon. September saw a retail average of $2.37 per gallon: a decrease of 27 cents from August and $1.04 from Sept. 2014. EIA calculates that Dec. 2015 will see a low of $2.03 before returning to about $2.38 per gallon next year.
Crude oil production, which declined by 120,000 barrels daily (b/d) from August to September, is predicted to decrease through mid-2016 before growth resumes late next year, with 9.2 million b/d and 8.9 million b/d projected for 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Natural gas inventories averaged 15 percent higher than one year ago, with the 3,538 billion cubic feet (Bcf) figure of Sept. 25 totaling four or five higher than the previous five-year average for this week. EIA projects that October inventories will close at 3,956 Bcf, which would be a record high for the month.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) collects, analyzes and disseminates independent, impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.