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U.S. exports of crude oil surged to average 3 million barrels per day for the week ending June 22, by far the highest level ever, according to newly released data from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Expand chart
Data: Energy Information Administration; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: The record signals how the U.S. has become an increasingly powerful force in global crude oil markets as domestic production, already at record levels, inches closer to reaching 11 million barrels per day.

Background: The prior weekly average record was 2.57 million barrels per day in early-mid May, and the next highest was 2.37 million for the week ending June 15.

  • One level deeper: a number of forces have been pushing exports higher since the extremely heavy restrictions were lifted in a late 2015 law.

Rising domestic production of light oil, rising global demand, and the wide discount between the price of U.S. crude and the global Brent benchmark in recent weeks are all helping more U.S. crude find its way offshore.

Of the 10 times exports have averaged over 2 million barrels per day for a week, nine of them have occurred this year.

State of the market today: crude oil prices are climbing after the weekly EIA data dump also showed a big drop — 9.9 million barrels — in U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles.

That adds to other forces pushing prices higher, including yesterday's announcement by a State Department official that the U.S. does not plan to grants sanctions waivers to buyers of Iranian crude when the penalties are reimposed this fall.

West Texas Intermediate has risen by roughly $2 per barrel in trading on Wednesday to the mid-$72 range as of late morning. Brent prices have also risen today.

Go deeper

SoCalGas agrees to $1.8 billion settlement for 2015 gas blowout

An evacuee with a Save Porter Ranch sign outside Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon gate in Porter Ranch in January 2016 as the gas leak continued. Photos: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Southern California Gas Company and its parent company announced Monday they've agreed to pay up to $1.8 billion in settlement claims over the 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility blowout.

Why it matters: Some 100,000 tons of methane, ethane and toxic chemicals poured into the air for 112 days, forcing over 8,000 families to evacuate from their Los Angeles-area homes and sickening thousands of others with headaches, nausea and nosebleeds, per the L.A. Times.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea fires short-range missile to sea, slams "hostile" U.S. policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that North Korea's military had fired a short-range missile toward its eastern sea, per AP.

Why it matters: North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their "hostile policy" against the country.

Arizona Judge: Adding mask mandates ban to budget bill unconstitutional

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An Arizona judge ruled Monday that the state's ban on mask mandates in schools, and other measures put into the state budget by Republicans, are unconstitutional, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The sweeping ruling voids a ban on vaccine requirements for public universities, community colleges and local governments, and strikes down some non-COVID-related measures like a ban on teaching critical race theory in classrooms and anti-fraud measures for ballots.

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