EIA lowers ethanol production, blending forecasts for 2021

By Erin Voegele | November 10, 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration maintained its forecast for 2020 fuel ethanol production in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, which was released on Nov. 10. The forecast for 2021 ethanol production, however, was revised down.

The EIA currently predicts ethanol production will average 900,000 barrels per day this year, a forecast that was maintained from the agency’s October STEO. The forecast for 2021 ethanol production was reduced to 970,000 barrels per day, down from a forecast of 990,000 barrels per day made last month. Production averaged approximately 1.03 million barrels per day in 2019.

On a quarterly basis, the EIA predicts ethanol production will average 940,000 barrels per day during the final quarter of 2020. Production is expected to increase to 970,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2021, fall to 960,000 barrels per day in the second and third quarters, and then increase to 990,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter of next year.

The EIA currently predicts ethanol blending will average 830,000 barrels per day in 2020, a forecast maintained from the agency’s October STEO. The forecast for 2021 blending was revised down to 890,000 barrels per day, compared to the forecast of 910,000 barrels per day made in the October STEO. The U.S. blended an average of 950,000 barrels per day in 2019.

The EIA’s most recent weekly data shows ethanol production averaged 961,000 barrels per day the week ending Oct. 30, up from 941,000 barrels per day the previous week. Ethanol ending stocks were at 19.675 million barrels the week ending Oct. 30, up from 19.601 million barrels the prior week.

The agency’s most recent monthly data shows the U.S. imported 846,000 barrels of ethanol in August, all from Brazil. The U.S. exported 2.409 million barrels of ethanol in August, primarily to Canada, India, and Nigeria.