A recent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report predicts that heating oil prices in the Northeast will increase to record levels this winter. This price hike could bode well for small-cap exploration and production companies whose balance sheets have been hampered by recent fluctuations in the price of oil and natural gas.
Oilweek magazine reports that an abundance of shale gas in North America has contributed to deflation in natural gas prices . Data supplied by Oil-Price.net indicates that the price of a barrel of brent crude oil has dropped significantly since reaching its 2011 peak during the summer.
The EIA report estimates that the average cost of heating oil will rise to $3.71 a gallon. The total winter expenditure for heating in the average household is expected to average nearly $2,500, The Boston Globe reports. The single largest contributor to this price hike is rising crude oil prices.
According to the media outlet, Chris Lafakis, an economist with Moody’s Analytics, stated that "crude prices haven’t really been this high [before] going into the winter."