EIA Revises 2016 Ethanol Output

OAKHURST, N.J. (DTN) -- In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook released Tuesday, the Energy Information Administration again revised slightly higher its forecast ethanol production for this year while holding firm its demand outlook.

EIA said ethanol production averaged almost 970,000 bpd in 2015, slightly above last month's estimate, and is forecast to average 980,000 bpd in 2016 and 2017. This compares with last month's estimate for both years at "between 970,000 bpd and 980,000 bpd."

The agency repeated that ethanol consumption in 2015 averaged about 910,000 bpd, while holding firm its forecast for 2016 and 2017 to about 930,000 bpd.

"This level of consumption results in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool averaging 10% in both 2016 and 2017. EIA does not expect significant increases in E15 or E85 consumption over the forecast period."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 30, 2015, finalized a rule setting Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2014 through 2016. EIA used these finalized volumes to develop the current STEO forecast and assumes the 2016 targets for 2017. However, EPA did issues a biomass-based diesel target for 2017 of 2.0 billion gallons, which the agency used for this forecast.

EIA continues to expect the largest effect of the proposed RFS targets will be on biodiesel consumption, which helps to meet the RFS targets for use of biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel. Biodiesel production averaged 82,000 bpd in 2015 and is forecast to average 100,000 bpd this year, unchanged from last month's estimate. In 2017, the estimate is 106,000 bpd, also steady on the month. Net imports of biomass-based diesel are also expected to increase from 29,000 bpd in 2015 to 42,000 bpd in 2016, slightly below last month, and 47,000 bpd in 2017, flat from the prior month forecast.

The agency estimates that energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide decreased by 2.7% in 2015. Emissions are forecast to decrease by 1.5% in 2016 and then increase by 1.4% in 2017. These forecasts are sensitive to assumptions about weather and economic growth.

(CZ)