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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
This week in petroleum: Spring break rush on Gulf Coast
Gasoline consumption in Florida typically peaks in March, when seasonal population is high and spring break travelers and baseball fans arrive for some time in the sun. Through the rest of the spring and into the summer, gasoline consumption typically declines as tourism slows and seasonal residents head north to escape the heat. This consumption pattern differs from that of in other states, where gasoline consumption typically peaks in July and August and is lowest during the winter months. FULL STORY »
Gasoline price increases, diesel fuel sheds two cents
The average U.S. price for regular gasoline was $3.55 per gallon as of March 17, 2014, an increase of four cents from a week ago, but 15 cents less than a year ago. FULL STORY »
Crude oil inventories at lowest level since 2012
Crude oil inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the primary crude oil storage location in the United States and the delivery location for the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures contract, declined 12 million barrels (29%) over the past seven weeks. On March 14, 2014, Cushing inventories were 30 million barrels, 19 million barrels lower than a year ago and the lowest level since early 2012. FULL STORY »
Natural Gas Outlook: Consumption down, Production to grow
More frigid weather in February led to another large downward revision to the STEO's end-of-March 2014 projection for working natural gas inventories. Projected inventories now end March at 965 billion cubic feet (Bcf), ending the season below 1,000 Bcf for the first time since 2003. Much colder-than-normal temperatures in February led to large stock withdrawals in response to high demand from the residential, commercial, and electric power sectors. According to data from Bentek Energy, three of the top five months for total natural gas demand over the last eight years have occurred this heating season (December 2013, January 2014, and February 2014). FULL STORY »
World Oil Outlook: Supplies to increase
EIA projects world petroleum and other liquids supply to increase by 1.3 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in both 2014 and 2015, with most of the growth coming from countries outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The Americas, in particular the United States, Canada, and Brazil, will account for much of this growth. Projected world liquid fuels consumption grows by an annual average of 1.2 million bbl/d in 2014 and 1.4 million bbl/d in 2015. FULL STORY »
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