EIA: Household gas spending to rise 13% during 2013-14 heating season

In its most recent Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook, the US Energy Information Administration outlined that it expects US households heating with natural gas to spend an average $679 this winter, up 13% from last winter but still lower than the previous 5-year average. The increase in expenditures reflects a 13.7% rise in gas prices over last winter, with a relatively flat consumption level.

US household expenditures this winter for heating oil, meanwhile, are forecast to average $2,046 compared with $2,092 last winter. This decrease represents a 3% decrease in consumption and a 5% decrease in prices.

Projected expenditure changes from last winter are 9% higher for propane and 2% higher for electricity, according to EIA.

“However,” EIA noted, “fuel expenditures for individual households are highly dependent on local weather conditions, market size, the size and energy efficiency of individual homes and their heating equipment, and thermostat settings.” Forecast temperatures are close to last winter nationally, with the US Northeast about 3% colder and the US West, 3% warmer.

Consumption, production

US crude oil, liquid fuels, and natural gas liquids consumption for this year’s first three quarters averaged 18.69 million b/d, up 0.6% from the same period last year, led by increases in LPG and distillate consumption. Motor gasoline and jet fuel remained relatively flat, reflecting moderate growth in travel activity offset by continued efficiency growth.

US crude oil production is expected to increase to 7.5 million b/d in 2013 and 8.5 million b/d in 2014 from 6.5 million b/d in 2012.

“The continued focus on drilling in tight oil plays in the onshore Williston, Western Gulf, and Permian basins is expected to account for the bulk of forecast production growth over the next 2 years,” EIA said.

EIA expects that gas consumption will average 70 bcfd and 69.4 bcfd in 2013 and 2014, respectively, compared with 69.7 bcfd in 2012. Gas-marketed production, which averaged 69.2 bcfd in 2012, is projected to increase to 70 bcfd in 2013 and to 70.4 bcfd in 2014.

Natural gas pipeline gross imports, which have fallen over the past 5 years, are projected to fall by 0.3 bcfd in 2013 and then remain near 2013 levels in 2014. LNG imports are expected to remain at minimal levels of around 0.4 bcfd in both 2013 and 2014,” EIA said.

Gas prices began increasing last month in anticipation of winter heating demand, averaging $3.62/MMbtu. US regular gasoline retail prices fell to $3.43/gal on Sept. 30 from $3.68/gal on July 22.

Global market

Global liquid fuels consumption is projected to average 90.26 million b/d in 2013 and 91.43 million b/d in 2014, up from 89.29 million b/d in 2012. China, the Middle East, Central & South America, and other countries outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development account for most of the consumption growth. OECD consumption is expected to decline continuously in 2013 and 2014 due to lower consumption in Europe and Japan.

Non-OPEC liquid fuels production is forecast to increase by 1.5 million b/d in both 2013 and 2014, with North America accounting for the majority of the growth. Projected OPEC liquid fuels production declines by 0.8 million b/d in 2013, reflecting supply outages among some OPEC producers and an overall decrease in Saudi Arabia’s production in response to the increase in non-OPEC supply.

“Overall OPEC crude oil unplanned disruptions in September averaged 2.4 million b/d, an increase of 0.2 million b/d over the previous month attributed solely to Libya,” EIA said.

Brent crude oil spot prices ended September at $108/bbl, down from $117/bbl in early the month. As non-OPEC supply grows, EIA forecasts the Brent crude oil price to average $107/bbl during the fourth quarter of 2013 and $102/bbl in 2014. The forecast WTI crude oil spot price averages $101/bbl during the fourth quarter of 2013 and $96/bbl in 2014.

Contact Conglin Xu at conglinx@ogjonline.com.

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