WASHINGTON - Warm weather in much of the United States in early January caused energy prices to continue sliding downward, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook notes that between mid-December 2006 and Jan. 18, the spot price of crude oil fell by $12 per barrel, to $50.51 per barrel. Likewise, the spot price for natural gas fell from $8.67 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) on Dec. 1, 2006, to $5.56 per mcf on Jan. 2. However, a cooling trend in late January boosted prices, and the EIA expects crude oil to average $56 per barrel in February while natural gas averages $7.35 per mcf.

With crude oil trading remaining weak, the EIA has lowered its price projections for 2007 to $59.50 per barrel, rising to $62.50 per barrel in 2008 (the previous Outlook projected prices near $64 per barrel for both years). Projected natural gas prices remain nearly the same as the previous projection, at $7.10 per mcf in 2007 and $7.60 per mcf in 2008.

Publication date:02/12/2007