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Heating Oil, Natural Gas Costs Expected to Increase This Winter

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Photo: ©iStockphoto/diane555

Staff Writer |

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects average household expenditures for heating oil and natural gas will increase by 19% and 15%, respectively, this winter (Oct. 1 through March 31) compared with last winter, according to the agency's Short-Term Energy Outlook released earlier this month.

Projected household expenditures are 5% higher for electricity and 13% higher for propane this winter.

The forecast for higher household expenditures primarily reflects a return to roughly normal winter temperatures east of the Rocky Mountains compared with last winter's unusual warmth.

EIA expects U.S. total crude oil production to average 6.3 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2012, an increase of 0.7 million bbl/d from last year. Projected U.S. domestic crude oil production increases to 6.9 million bbl/d in 2013, the highest level of production since 1993.

Natural gas working inventories ended September at an estimated 3.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 8% above the same time last year. EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $4.00 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011, to average $2.71 per MMBtu in 2012 and $3.35 per MMBtu in 2013.

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