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2017-03-10 18:55:00

OIL PRICES: $55 - $57

OIL PRICES: $55 -  $57

EIASHORT-TERM ENERGY OUTLOOK

Global liquid fuels
U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.9 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2016. U.S crude oil production is forecast to average 9.2 million b/d in 2017 and 9.7 million b/d in 2018.
Benchmark North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $55 per barrel (b) in February, largely unchanged from the average in January.
EIA forecasts Brent crude oil prices to average $55/b in 2017 and $57/b in 2018. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are expected to average about $1/b less than Brent prices in the forecast. NYMEX contract values for May 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending March 2 suggest that a range of $46/b to $63/b encompasses the market expectation for WTI prices in May 2017 at the 95% confidence level.
Implied global petroleum and liquid fuels inventories increased by an estimated 0.5 million b/d in 2016. EIA expects a relatively balanced oil market in the next two years, with inventory builds averaging 0.1 million b/d in 2017 and 0.2 million b/d in 2018.
U.S. monthly average regular gasoline retail prices are expected to increase from $2.30/gallon (gal) in February 2017 to $2.51/gal in July before falling to $2.24/gal by December. U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.40/gal in 2017 and $2.44/gal in 2018.

Natural gas
U.S. dry natural gas production is forecast to average 73.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 1.4 Bcf/d increase from the 2016 level. This increase reverses a 2016 production decline, the first annual decline since 2005. Natural gas production in 2018 is forecast to rise by an average of 4.1 Bcf/d from the 2017 level.
In February, the average Henry Hub natural gas spot price fell by 45 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) from the January levels to $2.85/MMBtu. Unseasonably warm temperatures in the Lower 48 states contributed to lower prices.
New natural gas export capabilities and growing domestic natural gas consumption contribute to the forecast Henry Hub natural gas spot price rising from an average of $3.03/MMBtu in 2017 to $3.45/MMBtu in 2018. NYMEX contract values for May 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending March 2 suggest that a range of $2.15/MMBtu to $3.82/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for Henry Hub natural gas prices in May 2017 at the 95% confidence level.

Prices
Benchmark North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $55 per barrel (b) in February, largely unchanged from the average in January.
EIA forecasts Brent crude oil prices to average $55/b in 2017 and $57/b in 2018. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are expected to average about $1/b less than Brent prices in the forecast. NYMEX contract values for May 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending March 2 suggest that a range of $46/b to $63/b encompasses the market expectation for WTI prices in May 2017 at the 95% confidence level.
U.S. monthly average regular gasoline retail prices are expected to increase from $2.30/gallon (gal) in February 2017 to $2.51/gal in July before falling to $2.24/gal by December. U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.40/gal in 2017 and $2.44/gal in 2018.
In February, the average Henry Hub natural gas spot price fell by 45 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) from the January levels to $2.85/MMBtu. Unseasonably warm temperatures in the Lower 48 states contributed to lower prices.
New natural gas export capabilities and growing domestic natural gas consumption contribute to the forecast Henry Hub natural gas spot price rising from an average of $3.03/MMBtu in 2017 to $3.45/MMBtu in 2018. NYMEX contract values for May 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending March 2 suggest that a range of $2.15/MMBtu to $3.82/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for Henry Hub natural gas prices in May 2017 at the 95% confidence level.

WTI OIL PRICES 2016 - 2018

HENRY HUB GAS PRICE 2016 - 2018

Crude Oil
Prices: Crude oil prices continued trading in a narrow range in February. Brent crude oil front-month futures prices decreased by $1.72 per barrel (b), and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices decreased by $1.27/b between February 1 and March 2, settling at $55.08/b and $52.61/b, respectively, on March 2 (Figure 1). Brent and WTI average spot prices in February were higher by 37 cents/b and 94 cents/b, respectively, compared with January averages.

BRENT WTI OIL PRICES FEB 2016 - FEB 2017

The oil market is showing signs of closer balance between supply and demand in early 2017. Although estimates of January and February crude oil production will remain unconfirmed for another month or two, voluntary oil supply reductions by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers (following agreements in late 2016) appear to be achieving a high degree of compliance.

EIA estimates that global oil inventories fell at a rate of almost 1.0 million barrels per day (b/d) in February, which would be the third-largest monthly decline rate since the beginning of 2014. Global economic activity continues to remain robust and is supporting oil consumption growth. However, the outlook for the oil market remains uncertain because of supply developments. While supply from non-OPEC countries in the second quarter of 2017 is expected to be close to its level from the fourth quarter of 2016, OPEC supply is forecast to decline during the same period. Lower OPEC market share could complicate whether its members will renegotiate voluntary supply reductions for the second half of 2017. EIA expects increases in non-OPEC supply, particularly in the United States, to limit upward oil price pressure through much of 2017.

EIA forecasts Brent crude oil spot prices to average $55/b in 2017 and $57/b for 2018, which is unchanged from the February STEO.

Oil prices traded in a narrow range in February with a $4/b difference between the highest and lowest prices of the month. Crude oil price implied volatility declined to one-year lows in February. Brent implied volatility decreased to 22.7% on March 2, a decline of five percentage points since February 1. WTI implied volatility declined six percentage points over the same period (Figure 2). Implied volatility in February 2017 was significantly lower than February 2016, when fears about global economic growth and falling commodity prices contributed to heightened volatility across most traded securities.

BRENT WTI OIL IMPLIED VOLATILITY

Crude oil price spreads: In contrast to the narrow trading range in front-month prices, the difference between the price of the front-month Brent contract and a contract for delivery 13 months in the future (1st-13th spread) trended higher in February. After briefly reaching backwardation (when near-term prices are higher than longer-dated ones) in late February for the first time since 2014, the Brent 1st-13th spread settled at -57 cents/b on March 2 (Figure 3). Backwardation can occur during supply disruptions, but it can also occur when demand is higher than expected, pulling available supply out of inventory. Global oil inventories are estimated to have fallen at a rate of almost 1.0 million b/d in February.

In the United States, total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 7 million barrels in February, the first February decline since 2013, driven by declines in petroleum products. The comparatively large draws in petroleum inventories likely contributed to the WTI 1st-13th spread increasing by 85 cents/b from February 1 to settle at -$1.50/b on March 2. As refineries return from maintenance in the second quarter, crude oil inventories could decline, which could put further upward pressure on the 1st-13th spread.

OIL FUTURES PRICE SPREAD 2016 - 2017

Recent changes in price spreads between crude oil grades are consistent with changing trade flows. Voluntary supply reductions from some OPEC and non-OPEC countries disproportionately reduced the supply of medium-sour crude oils. This supply reduction is contributing to higher prices for medium-sour Dubai and Oman crude oils–the Middle Eastern crude oil benchmarks– making those crudes less attractive to refineries in Asia. The Brent-Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps (EFS) is an instrument that allows trade between the Brent futures market and the Dubai swaps market and represents the price premium of Brent over Dubai crude oil. The EFS continues to trade below $2/b and is at the lowest level for this time of year since 2010, settling at $1.50/b on March 2 (Figure 4). A low premium of Brent crude oil over Dubai opens up opportunities for Asian refiners to import more North Sea and West African grades, and trade press is reporting an increase in Atlantic basin cargoes headed to Asia.

Similarly, the price differential of U.S.-produced Mars crude oil and Dubai/Oman oil also declined over the past few months and contributed to an increase in U.S. crude oil exports to Asia. The Mars-Dubai/Oman differential averaged -$3.25/b in February, less than the February 2016 average of -$1.78/b and settled at -$4.40/b on March 2. Not only are supply reductions increasing the price of the Dubai/Oman benchmark, but recent increases in U.S. Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico production could also be contributing to a relative decrease in the Mars price. Lower U.S. refinery runs during maintenance season are also reducing domestic crude oil demand in the first quarter of 2017 and freeing up more oil for export. The wide price differential is opening up opportunities for U.S. crude oil producers to export to Asia. Initial weekly estimates based on EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report indicate that U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high of 0.9 million b/d for the four weeks ending February 24.

OIL PRICE SPREADS 2016 - 2017

Natural Gas
Prices: The front month natural gas futures contract for delivery at Henry Hub settled at $2.80 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on March 2, a decrease of 36 cents/MMBtu from February 1 (Figure 8). Mild weather prevailed across much of the Lower 48 states in February, and initial data indicate that heating degree days (HDD) were the lowest on record for the month. The warm temperatures contributed to downward pressure on natural gas prices. Although February 2016 and 2017 were both unseasonably warm, February 2017 natural gas prices were higher compared with last year because exports were higher and U.S. natural gas production was lower, leading to lower levels of inventories. However, inventory levels remain above the previous five-year average.

HENRY HUB GAS FUTURES PRICE 2016 - 2017

Warmer weather contributed to below-average draws in U.S. working natural gas inventories for the weeks ending February 3 through February 17. The week ending February 24 posted an injection of 7 billion cubic feet (Bcf), the first February injection on record. The five-year average inventory change for the last week in February is a 132 Bcf withdrawal. For the weeks ending February 3 through February 24, U.S. working natural gas inventories declined by an average of 87 Bcf, 40% lower than the five-year average February decline of 144 Bcf.

Low inventory withdrawals and a counter-seasonal injection have put downward pressure on front-month natural gas prices. The natural gas 1st-13th spread, the discount of front month natural gas prices to prices for delivery further in the future, declined by 31 cents/MMBtu from February 1 to a monthly low of -62 cents/MMBtu on February 21. With the expiration of the March contract, marking the informal end of the withdrawal season, the 1st-13th spread narrowed and settled at -6 cents/MMBtu on March 2 (Figure 9).

GAS FUTURES PRICE SPREAD 2016 - 2017

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Earlier: 

U.S. RIGS UP 2 

U.S. OIL PRODUCTION 9 MBD 

U.S. GDP UP 1.9% 

U.S. OIL PRODUCTION UP ANEW 

U.S. DEFICIT $44.3 BLN

 

 

 

Tags: OIL, GAS, PRICES, BRENT, WTI

Chronicle:

OIL PRICES: $55 -  $57
November, 15, 15:25:00

OIL PRICE: ABOVE $61 AGAIN

REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 72 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1020 GMT, having fallen by 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its largest one-day drop in a month. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55.12 per barrel, down 58 cents.

OIL PRICES: $55 -  $57
November, 15, 15:20:00

IEA COOLS THE MARKET

BLOOMBERG - Prices dropped during the session as the International Energy Agency said the recent recovery in oil prices, coupled with milder-than-normal winter weather, is slowing demand growth. The worsening outlook for consumption dampened some of the enthusiasm that OPEC and its allies will extend supply curbs.

OIL PRICES: $55 -  $57
November, 15, 15:15:00

IEA: GLOBAL ENERGY DEMAND UP BY 30%

Global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.

OIL PRICES: $55 -  $57
November, 15, 15:10:00

RUSSIA'S OIL EXPORTS UP

Product exports have grown significantly over the past several years and are expected to continue to grow as Russian refineries add capacity to produce more high-quality products.

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