The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Short-Term Energy Outlook February 12, in which the agency included the estimate for West Texas Intermediate (WTI)/Brent crude oil spot price and called for the spread to be reduced by roughly 50% by 2014.
“The EIA estimates WTI will average $93/$92 in 2013/2014, down from $94 in 2012, and expects Brent to trade at $109 in 2013 and edge lower to $101 in 2014, down from the 2012 average of $112. This would cut the spread between the two benchmarks from $18 in 2012 to an estimated $8 by 2014, as additional pipeline capacity becomes available in the US. Among the proposed projects likely to reduce the cost of transporting crude to Gulf Coast refineries, the everlasting Keystone XL pipeline (expected at 700 Mbpd), the expanded Seaway Pipeline from Cushing to Jones Creek, TX, currently flowing 400 Mbpd with up to 850 Mbpd online by Q1:14 and the Longhorn Pipeline bringing 135 Mbpd to the Gulf from the Permian,” noted Global Hunter Securities analysts in an email to investors Wednesday.
Other highlights from the EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook include the following:
- EIA estimates U.S. total crude oil production averaged 6.4 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2012, an increase of 0.8 million bbl/d from the previous year. Projected domestic crude oil production continues to increase to 7.3 million bbl/d in 2013 and 7.8 million bbl/d in 2014.
- Total US liquid fuels consumption fell from 20.8 million bbl/d in 2005 to 18.6 million bbl/d in 2012. EIA expects total consumption to rise slowly over the next two years to an average of 18.7 million bbl/d in 2014, driven by increases in distillate fuel and liquefied petroleum gas consumption, with mostly flat gasoline and jet fuel consumption.
- Natural gas working inventories reached a record-high level in early November 2012, but ended January 2013 at an estimated 2.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 0.2 Tcf below the level at the same time the previous year. EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $2.75 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2012, will average $3.53 per MMBtu in 2013 and $3.84 per MMBtu in 2014.