07 August 2012 22:26 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US Energy Department on Tuesday raised its pricing forecast for both Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices for the second half this year and said US natural gas prices would likely rise by 25% next year.
In its monthly short-term energy outlook (STEO), the department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that it expects the Brent crude oil spot price will average about $103/bbl in the second half of this year, a forecast that is $3.50/bbl higher than its outlook last month.
The administration, which serves as the department’s data collection and analysis arm, said that WTI spot prices would likely average $90/bbl over the second half of 2012, which is $2/bbl higher than the EIA’s estimate of a month ago.
In natural gas, the administration said that domestic spot prices are about to experience a significant turnaround.
While the Henry Hub spot price for natural gas averaged $4/MMBtu in 2011, EIA said it is expected to fall to a full-year 2012 average of $2.67/MMBtu but then climb to an average $3.34/MMBtu for 2013.
Increasing use of natgas instead of coal as a fuel for electric power generation is said to be driving the forecast for pricing gains.
The availability and pricing of natural gas is of critical importance to the US petrochemicals industry and downstream chemical makers who are heavily dependent on natgas as both a feedstock and energy fuel.
The increase in the administration’s forecast for US WTI oil prices for this year comes despite gains in US domestic oil production predicted for this year and next.
The EIA said that ?xml:namespace>
The predicted increases in both WTI and Brent crude prices were attributed to market expectations that policymakers in the
In addition, said the EIA, “
However, the administration cautioned that its outlook for higher crude and natgas prices could be quickly countered by events, including “the possibility that the economic situation in EU countries could deteriorate further”.
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
Asian Chemical Connections