Editor’s Note: The Arkansas Energy Report is produced monthly and is sponsored by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas, and MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator). Talk Business & Politics makes every effort to use information current at time of posting.
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In its weekly petroleum status report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports U.S. exports have reached 2.13 billion barrels per day, an all-time high for U.S. oil shipments headed overseas. The increasing U.S. exports have also led to a widening spread between the U.S. premium, light sweet crude, West Texas Intermediate, and the international benchmark Brent crude oil.
The price of Brent crude was at $60.44, down 0.1% on London’s ICE Futures exchange. In late October, Brent crude topped $60 for the first time since July 2015. On the other hand, WTI was slightly up 15 cents to $54.38 in the mid-week session on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The improving U.S. and international crude market adds to speculation that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with Russia and other major international oil producers, will extend agreed-upon crude oil production cuts at the upcoming Nov. 30 cartel meeting.
Spot prices for electricity delivery ranged from a high of $40.68 per megawatt hours in Southern California to $20.05 in New England, where spot prices for delivery fell 31.5% to $11.81. The Northwest market rose 7.4% to $25.50.
GAS PRICES FORECAST
Arkansas continues to be one of the nation’s least expensive gasoline markets. Prices across the U.S. are heading lower as Gulf Coast refineries utilization capacity surpassed 90% for the first time since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in late August.
According to AAA, gas prices across the U.S. are highly volatile with the national gas price average at $2.47 per gallon, one cents higher than the week ending Oct. 27. Gas prices are fluctuating across the country with 25 states paying more, 17 states paying less and nine states staying stable for a gallon of regular gasoline. States in the Great Lakes and Central regions experienced the biggest increases of up to six to 12 cents headed into the weekend ahead of Halloween
“Depending on where in the country you are filling up your tank, gasoline prices are playing tricks on some motorists with large increases on the week and treating others to lower gas prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The price volatility can be attributed to a new trend that has emerged during October in the last few years, which is an unexpectedly steady demand for gasoline after the end of the summer driving season.”
OTHER ENERGY REPORT HIGHLIGHTS
- Severance tax collections for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 have jumped nearly 20% as Fayetteville Shale drillers have increased total net production.
- In Arkansas, pump prices are averaging about $2.24 for a gallon of regular unleaded, three cents higher than the previous week, 7 cents cheaper than a month ago and 24 cents higher than year ago levels.
- For the week ended Oct. 27, the U.S. rig count rose by four to 909 according to Baker Hughes Inc. Of that total, 737 are oil rigs, and 172 are natural gas rigs.
Link here for the complete PDF of the November 2017 Arkansas Energy Report.