EIA projects that the Brent crude oil spot price will average about $103 per barrel during the second half of 2012, about $3.50 per barrel higher than in last month's Outlook. The forecast Brent crude oil spot price falls to an average of $100 per barrel in 2013.
The projected West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil spot price discount to Brent crude oil narrows from about $14 in the third quarter of 2012 to $9 by late 2013.
These price forecasts assume that world oil-consumption-weighted real gross domestic product, which increased by 3% in 2011, grows by 2.8% in 2012 and 2.9% in 2013.
EIA now expects that on-highway diesel fuel retail prices, which averaged $3.84 per gallon in 2011, will average $3.84 per gallon and $3.62 per gallon in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
EIA increased the average regular gasoline retail price forecast for the third quarter of 2012 to $3.49 per gallon from $3.39 per gallon in last month's Outlook. EIA expects regular gasoline retail prices, which averaged $3.53 per gallon in 2011, to average $3.53 per gallon in 2012 and $3.33 per gallon in 2013.
Natural gas working inventories ended July 2012 at an estimated 3.2 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 17% above the same time last year. EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $4 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011, to average $2.67 per MMBtu in 2012 and $3.34 per MMBtu in 2013.