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The new normal for crude oil exports

The latest Energy Information Administration weekly data shows that U.S. crude oil exports have averaged above — usually well above — 3 million barrels per day for 12 consecutive weeks.

Why it matters: The weekly data that runs through the end of January is a sign that 3 million-plus is the new normal for U.S. crude exports.

• The growth has been enabled by booming shale production that produces light oil that many refineries are not optimized to run.
• That has created a spillover effect as companies are building new pipeline and port infrastructure to handle the rise.

The intrigue: Politically, it raises the stakes of the White House race. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both called for ending U.S. oil exports as part of their climate platforms.

Worth noting: The weekly data is noisy, but on a multiweek basis it is consistent with more complete monthly data, which arrives after a lag.

• Exports averaged over 3 million barrels per day in November, the most recent period in the monthly tallies, as well as October and September.
Flashback: Legislation to remove heavy export restrictions was enacted at the end of 2015.
Source: Axios

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