Last night, I made salmon
patties.  We have this amazing canned
Alaskan wild salmon and it makes some extremely delicious salmon patties, let
me tell you.  As I was making them last
night, one thought kept crossing my mind: I was not in the mood for a basic,
plain, old salmon patty.  You know what a
regular salmon patty is?  It is boring,
that’s what.

You know what else can feel a little monotonous?  Reviewing energy statistics!  The U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) released its Monthly Energy Review, which can be found hereAs interesting as this data is, it can still taste a little bland.

Sometimes you need to spice it
up!  In salmon patties and in reviewing
data, a little flavor goes a long way.

I added a little Siracha to my
salmon patties last night, whipped up a Siracha aioli sauce, diced up scallions
and celery to add in to my patties and also topped them with dill and sea
salt.  Just like that, the flavor profile
was no longer boring.  It was totally new
and exciting! 

To add a little spice to reviewing energy statistics, one must change the flavor profile by looking at the data with fresh eyes

The EIA’s Monthly
Energy Review
may look like just a bunch of charts and graphs, but a close
review reveals patterns and trends.  I
specifically like to look at production, consumption and energy prices.

For example, in the Crude Oil
Price Summary, which can be found here, a
comparison of the yearly average prices tends to show an overall upward
trend. 

On a more micro-level, oil prices today are also moving upward. According to Bloomberg Energy,  WTI Crude Oil is at $55.95 per barrel at the time of the posting of this blog and Brent Crude is at $60.61 per barrel. Both of these prices are on the rise!

What is the spice to add when thinking about energy prices?  Projections and forecasts, of course.  Both of these considerations add the flavor.   

According to the EIA’s Short Term
Energy Outlook
(“STEO”) released earlier this month:

  • EIA forecasts
    Brent spot prices will average $64/b in the second half of 2019 and $65/b in
    2020. The forecast of stable crude oil prices is the result of EIA’s
    expectations of a relatively balanced global oil market. 
  • This spice is clearly forecasting that Brent is on the rise from where we sit today.
  • EIA expects WTI
    crude oil prices will average $5.50/b less than Brent prices during the fourth
    quarter of 2019 and in 2020, narrowing from the $6.60/b spread during July. The
    narrowing spread reflects EIA’s assumption that crude oil pipeline transportation
    constraints from the Permian Basin to refineries and export terminals on the
    U.S. Gulf Coast will ease in the coming months. In the July STEO, EIA forecast
    the Brent-WTI spread to average $4.00/b in 2020. 
  • This spice forecasts that WTI will also raise and the spread will start to shrink up even more.

Thus, the flavor profile on oil
prices is starting to heat up and is projected to get spicier.

TAKEAWAY:  Don’t be afraid to spice things up or look at things with fresh eyes to see a new flavor profile!