Crude oil exports averaged a record 2.1 million barrels per day for the week ending October 27, according to new Energy Information Administration data, marking the first time they have surpassed the 2 million threshold in EIA's weekly tallies.

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Data: EIA; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Why it matters: The growing exports underscore how the shale boom and the lifting of major export restrictions in late 2015 are making the U.S. an increasingly prominent force in global crude oil markets.

  • Exports levels zig and zag somewhat but have been generally rising since the ban was lifted, and flirted with the 2 million barrel ceiling in recent weeks, averaging 1.98 million barrels per day in late September and 1.92 million in mid-October.

One big question: Analysts have begin wondering how high U.S. exports could climb before they're limited by infrastructure constraints. A recent note from RBC Capital Markets concluded that "physical bottlenecks" are unlikely to kick in before 3.2 million barrels per day.

Go deeper: This recent Reuters story explores that question in detail.

Go deeper

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