On Tuesday, October 7, NASEO, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), convened the 2014 - 2015 Winter Energy Outlook Conference in Washington, D.C. This important annual event brought together leading energy data and forecasting experts to address global oil supply uncertainty, and the effects of projected winter weather on the demand for heating and transportation fuels.
This year's conference included a presentation on EIA's 2014 Winter Fuels Outlook, as well as panel discussions with well-known industry representatives and energy experts about factors likely to affect energy markets this winter in the United States and globally. EIA Administrator Adam Siemenski, discussed key highlights from the 2014 Winter Fuels Outlook, including:
• EIA expects the average household heating bill in all regions of the country will be lower this winter.
• Homes that heat with propane and heating oil will see the biggest savings, with propane expenditures down 27% and heating oil bills down 15% from last winter.
• Average natural gas bills will be 5% lower, while households that rely on electricity for space heating will see their costs decline by 2%.
• The expenditure forecasts are based on EIA projections of residential prices and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast of winter heating degree days, which average 12% lower for the U.S. compared with last winter.
• Natural gas production this winter is projected to average 71 billion cubic feet (Bcf) a day, an increase of 3 Bcf/day (4.5%) over last winter.
• Natural gas stocks are 11% lower than this time last year, but are sufficient to meet winter demand.
• Propane stocks and production are up from last year and supply should be sufficient to meet demand if we do not see a repeat of last winter's very cold weather. The uncertainties for this winter include demand for grain drying give another expected record corn crop and changes to the transportation capacity to move propane to markets and increased reliance on shipments by rail.
• Stocks of distillate oil include home heating oil remain at the low end of the previous 5 year range.
• The significant increase in U.S. oil production from shale production fields has resulted in a sharp drop in U.S. oil imports which is contributing to reshaping global energy trade.
Throughout the conference, experts discussed lessons learned during and after last winter's heating season and summarized the work that has been done during the spring and summer months to help prepare for the upcoming winter heating season. Attendees also heard presentations on a range of issues including near-term energy outlooks, modeling and forecasting, winter weather, infrastructure, resiliency, distribution, climate adaptation, and related vulnerabilities.
Presentations from the conference are available on the NASEO website.