This edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook is the first to include forecasts for 2015.
After falling to the lowest monthly average of 2013 in November, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices increased slightly to reach an average of $3.28 per gallon (gal) during December. The annual average regular gasoline retail price, which was $3.51/gal in 2013, is expected to fall to $3.46/gal in 2014 and $3.39/gal in 2015.
The North Sea Brent crude oil spot price in December averaged near $110 per barrel (bbl) for the sixth consecutive month. EIA expects the Brent crude oil price to decline gradually to average $105/bbl and $102/bbl in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Projected West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices average $93/bbl during 2014 and $90/bbl during 2015.
EIA expects liquid fuels production from countries outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to grow year-over-year by a record high of 1.9 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2014. The United States and Canada together are projected to account for almost 70% of total non-OPEC supply growth this year.
EIA estimates U.S. total crude oil production averaged 7.5 million bbl/d in 2013, an increase of 1.0 million bbl/d from the previous year. Projected domestic crude oil production continues to increase to 8.5 million bbl/d in 2014 and 9.3 million bbl/d in 2015. The 2015 forecast would mark the highest annual average level of production since 1972.
Natural gas working inventories on December 27 totaled 2.97 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), 0.56 Tcf below the level at the same time a year ago and 0.29 Tcf below the previous five-year average (2008-12). EIA expects that the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $3.73 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2013, will average $3.89/MMBtu in 2014 and $4.11/MMBtu in 2015.
Coal production, which fell by almost 9% between 2011 and 2013, is expected to increase by 36 million short tons (MMst) (3.6%) in 2014 as higher natural gas prices favor the dispatch of coal-fired power plants and the drawdown of coal inventory ends. In 2015, however, forecast coal-fired production falls by 2.5% with declining coal use in the electric power sector as retirements of coal-fired power plants rise due to the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.