- North Sea Brent crude oil prices averaged $61/barrel (b) in June, a $3/b decrease from May. Crude oil prices fell by about $4/b on July 6 in the aftermath of the “no” vote in Greece on the economic program, as well as lingering concerns about lower economic growth in China, higher oil exports from Iran, and continuing growth in global petroleum and other liquids inventories. A percent price change of this extent on a single day is unusual, but despite daily price volatility, monthly Brent crude oil prices have averaged between $55/b and $65/b per month since falling to $48/b in January.
- EIA forecasts that Brent crude oil prices will average $60/b in 2015 and $67/b in 2016. Forecast West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices in both 2015 and 2016 average $5/b less than the Brent price. The current values of futures and options contracts for December 2015 delivery (Market Prices and Uncertainty Report) suggest the market expects WTI prices in December 2015 to range from $41/b to $89/b (at the 95% confidence interval).
- U.S. regular gasoline monthly average retail prices reached $2.80/gallon (gal) in June, an increase of 8 cents/gal from May but 89 cents/gal lower than in June 2014. The price rise between May and June reflects signals of strong gasoline demand in the United States and abroad. EIA expects monthly average gasoline prices to decline gradually from their June level to an average of $2.49/gal during the second half of 2015. EIA forecasts U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.48/gal for all of 2015.
- EIA estimates total U.S. crude oil production declined by 50,000 barrels per day (b/d) in May compared with April. Production is expected to generally continue falling through early 2016 before growth resumes. Projected U.S. crude oil production averages 9.5 million b/d in 2015 and 9.3 million b/d in 2016.
- Natural gas working inventories were 2,577 billion cubic feet (Bcf) on June 26, which was 35% higher than a year earlier and 1% higher than the previous five-year average (2010-14). Although injections have been strong most weeks, hot temperatures and high demand from the electric power sector contributed to lower-than-average injections during late June. Nevertheless, working inventories are on pace to end the injection season above the previous five-year average. EIA projects end-of-October stocks will be 3,919 Bcf, 121 Bcf (3.2%) more than the five-year average.