Energy

Weather to blame for rise in gas prices

On April 21, the U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.68 per gallon (gal), an increase of 39 cents/gal since the 2014 low in early February. This recent retail price increase is mostly the result of an increase in crack spreads (the difference between the price of wholesale gasoline and the price of crude oil) attributable to typical seasonal factors such as refinery maintenance and higher travel-related demand as the driving season begins. In 2014, the average crack spread during the first four months of the year has been close to the five-year average. However, the 2014 seasonal increase has been modestly steeper than normal, which partially stems from lower-than-normal crack spreads in January and February. In its April 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA forecasts that retail gasoline prices will continue to rise into May and then begin to ease as refinery runs peak, adding supply to the market. FULL STORY »

Natural gas prices drop due to warmer weather

As temperatures warmed and natural gas heating demand declines, northeastern and Mid-Atlantic prices dropped below the national benchmark Henry Hub spot price on several days since the end of March. This is a reversal of price movements of the past several months. FULL STORY »

This Week in Petroleum: Activities spending on the rise

Annual reports by oil and natural gas companies show that spending on exploration and development activities increased by 5% ($18 billion) in 2013, while spending on property acquisition continued to decline by $17 billion. Total upstream spending was relatively flat after a period of strong growth (averaging 11% per year) from 2000 to 2012. FULL STORY »

U.S. liquid fuel production slows down

Weather conditions in the Lower 48 states during December 2013 and January 2014 caused operational issues in key producing regions. While a temporary slowdown in well completion activity resulted in flat crude oil production during those months, much of the production slowdown is expected to be made up by accelerated completion activity over the next few months. FULL STORY »

EIA expects global oil consumption to grow in 2014

EIA estimates that global consumption grew by 1.2 million bbl/d in 2013, averaging 90.4 million bbl/d for the year. EIA expects global consumption to grow 1.2 million bbl/d in 2014 and 1.4 million bbl/d in 2015. FULL STORY »

Global oil prices remain uncertain

Brent crude oil spot prices in March averaged $107/bbl. This was the ninth consecutive month Brent crude oil spot prices averaged between $107/bbl and $112/bbl. The Brent crude oil price is projected to average $105/bbl and $101/bbl in 2014 and 2015, respectively. FULL STORY »

Energy Outlook: Gasoline prices down, Oil flat

During the April-through-September summer driving season this year, regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $3.57/gallon (gal). The projected monthly national average regular retail gasoline price falls from $3.66/gal in May to $3.46/gal in September. FULL STORY »

Natural gas has largest storage withdrawal on record

This winter's natural gas withdrawal season (generally considered to be from the beginning of November to the end of March) saw the largest storage withdrawal on record (since 1994-95). Historically, winter stock withdrawals average around 2 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). FULL STORY »

Gasoline prices expected to average over $3.50

Retail prices are expected to gradually decline after May to an average of $3.46/gal in September. The largest driver of the expected decline is falling gasoline crack spreads, which are expected to decline to an average of 29 cents/gal in September. The expected decrease in crack spreads results from a projected increase in crude oil throughput at refineries, which add supplies to the market, along with easing seasonal demand increases as the summer progresses. North Sea Brent crude oil prices are projected to fall from a March average of $107 per barrel (bbl) to a May average of $105/bbl and a September average of $103/bbl. The May-to-September crude oil price drop contributes almost 5 cents/gal to the projected decline in gasoline prices. FULL STORY »

Natural Gas Weekly: Consumption sets winter record

Total natural gas consumption in the United States rose to a record average of 90.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) this winter, according to data from Bentek Energy. Cold weather drove total consumption up by 8% over last winter's levels, despite higher prices. FULL STORY »

Rapid rise in ethanol prices reflects logistical problems

Ethanol spot prices have increased steadily since early February. By late March, New York Harbor (NYH) spot ethanol prices exceeded prices for RBOB (the petroleum component of gasoline) by more than $1 per gallon (Figure 1). Ethanol spot prices in Chicago and Gulf Coast markets also rose above NYH RBOB prices. FULL STORY »

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