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The closing spot price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. benchmark for light, sweet crude, averaged $65.17 per barrel in May ’21, up from $28.56 for the same period in ’20, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). May ’21 marked the third month since May ’19 when prices averaged above $60. For the 12 months ending May ’21, WTI averaged $49.05 per barrel, a 2.0 percent increase from the corresponding period in ’20.
Crude prices continued to rise in May as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines increased global economic activity and thus energy consumption. Demand also increased last month due to stockpiles being created over concerns regarding Colonial Pipeline outages. In May, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 non-OPEC partner countries (collectively known as OPEC+) announced they will increase production by more than 2 million barrels per day, the increase to be spread out over May, June and July.
In May ’21, natural gas prices averaged $2.91 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), up 66.3 percent from $1.75 in May the year before. For the 12 months ending May ’21, gas prices averaged $2.62 per MMBtu, compared to $2.16 for the same period in ’20.
In ’21, the EIA expects WTI to average $61.85 per barrel and Henry Hub natural gas spot prices to average $3.07/MMBtu.
Prepared by Greater Houston Partnership Research Department
Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research
Closing price for a barrel of WTI in May '21
The EIA expects WTI to average $61.85 per barrel in '21
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