Crude oil exports have inched upward this year, reaching the highest monthly level on record of 1.1 million b/d in February, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday.
Restrictions on exporting domestically produced crude were lifted in 2015. The United States exported an average of 520,000 b/d in 2016, at a time when production dropped through the first nine months of the year before picking back up again. EIA said Tuesday that crude production has continued to increase through the first five months of 2017.
Crude production peaked at about 9.5 million b/d in 2015 to reach its highest point in decades, but slipped by 6% last year to below 9 million b/d as the downturn persisted. Volumes are currently at about 9.4 million b/d as activity has bounced back in the Midcontinent and other places like the Permian Basin.
Exports have fallen from the highs of February, averaging 775,000 b/d during the four weeks ending on June 16, but up from the same time last year when they were at 489,000 b/d, according to EIA data.
The agency said Canada remains the largest destination for U.S. crude exports, but its share has declined, dropping from 92% in 2015 (427,000 b/d) to 58% last year (301,000 b/d). The Netherlands, Curacao, China, Italy and the United Kingdom are among other leading destinations for U.S. oil.
The agency said that along with crude, other gross petroleum product exports such as distillate, gasoline and propane have more than doubled over the last year, going from 2.4 million b/d in 2010 to 5.2 million b/d in 2016.