EIA lowers 2020, 2021 ethanol production forecasts

Source: By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration slightly reduced its forecasts for 2020 and 2021 ethanol production in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, which was released Sept. 9. Forecasts for ethanol blending were also lowered.

The EIA currently predicts ethanol production will average 900,000 barrels per day this year, down from the 910,000-barrel-per-day estimate made in the agency’s August STEO. The EIA has also lowered its forecast for 2021 ethanol production to an average of 1 million barrels per day, down from its August prediction of 1.01 million barrels per day. Production averaged approximately 1.03 million barrels per day in 2019.

On a quarterly basis, the EIA expects ethanol production to average 930,000 barrels per day in the third quarter of this year, increasing to 950,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter. In 2021, ethanol production is expected to average 1 million barrels per day for the first three quarters of the year, increasing to 1.02 million barrels per day during the fourth quarter.

The U.S. is currently expected to blend an average of 830,000 barrels per day of ethanol this year, increasing to 920,000 barrels per day next year. In 2019, the U.S. blended an average of 950,000 barrels per day of ethanol.

The EIA’s most recent weekly data shows ethanol production averaged 922,000 barrels per day the week ending Aug. 28, down from an average of 931,000 barrels per day the previous week. Ethanol stocks were at 20.882 million barrels the week ending Aug. 28, up from 20.409 million barrels the previous week.

The agency’s most recent monthly data shows the U.S. imported 225,000 barrels of fuel ethanol in March, all from Brazil. The U.S. exported 1.883 million barrels of ethanol in June, primarily to Canada, India and Mexico.