EIA ups WTI crude, cuts natural gas price outlooks
SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday raised its 2013 forecast for West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices, but cut its natural gas price prediction for this year and next, compared with June estimates. WTI crude spot prices are likely to average $94.65/bbl this year, up from the previous estimate of $93.25.
It left its $91.96 forecast for 2014 unchanged. For natural gas, it forecast an average Henry Hub spot price of $3.76/MMBtu this year, down from June' s $3.92 forecast. It also lowered the 2014 forecast to $3.91 from $4.10.
The forecast cut follows a steep sell-off in recent months. Front-month futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange are down 15% from a peak of more than $4.40 reached April 19, following a string of bigger-than-expected injections to U.S. gas stockpiles.
Injections in June alone totaled 373 Bcf, which is about 50 Bcf more than the five-year average build for the month, the EIA said.
"EIA expects natural gas prices will remain below $4 through the end of 2013, as production remains robust and coal regains some of its lost share of the electricity generation market," said Adam Sieminiski, EIA administrator, in a statement.
The EIA kept its outlook for U.S. gas supply and demand largely unchanged. Dry natural gas production in 2013 was projected at 66.41 Bcfd. Consumption was expected to be 70.1 Bcfd.
Dow Jones Newswires