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A tanker is anchored at Irving Oil's Buckeye Terminal. Photo: Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The U.S. narrowly became a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products combined for the first time in decades last week, preliminary federal data shows.

Why it matters: It's a stark sign of the reemergence of the U.S. as a global oil market powerhouse — even if, as Bloomberg notes, it may only mark a brief return to the net exporter ranks for now. In particular, crude oil from shale formations has added millions of barrels of daily production over the last decade, and a 2015 law that ended a ban on crude oil exports is sending more and more of those barrels overseas.

By the numbers: Net U.S exports of crude oil and refined products averaged 211,000 barrels per day last week, according to rough Energy Information Administration data.

The tally includes...

  • A record 3.2 million barrels per day of crude oil exports last week.
  • Over 5.8 million barrels per day in exports of petroleum products, a category that includes gasoline, diesel, natural gas plant liquids and more.

The big picture: It's the first time that the U.S. has been a net exporter in EIA's weekly data that goes back to 1991.

But none of the monthly import-export data that goes back to 1973 and annual tally's that extend back to the mid-20th century show net exports either, according to EIA.

The last time the U.S. was a net exporter on a yearly basis was 1947, the agency said.

Yes, but: The milestone does not signal that the U.S. is insulated from global energy markets at all, even as domestic crude production is at record levels of far over 11 million barrels per day.

  • The U.S. still remains a major importer of crude oil, even as that reliance on foreign suppliers has fallen significantly amid the domestic boom. And prices are also largely dictated by global supply and demand trends.

Last week the U.S. imported an average of 7.2 million barrels per day of crude oil, according to EIA.

Go deeper

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.

5 hours ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.