American crude oil exports hit their highest level since 1957 this summer, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Reflecting the country’s new energy fortunes, U.S. exports rose 35 percent from May to June this year, hitting a 57-year high predominantly because of a surge in flows north to Canada. Reuters reports:
Exports jumped 35 percent from May to 389,000 barrels per day in June, almost all of that sent to Canada, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau released on Wednesday….The June surge of more than 100,000 bpd is the biggest monthly rise since the onset of the U.S. shale oil revolution, which has unlocked billions of barrels of reserves and fueled a production boom that has the potential to exceed domestic demand.The rise shows that U.S. crude from places such as North Dakota and Texas is finding more buyers in Canada, particularly on the Atlantic Coast where refiners are still dependent on costlier Brent-linked crude from the North Sea or West Africa. Although a decades-old U.S. law generally bars exports of domestically produced crude, shipments to Canada are broadly allowed, as are re-exports of foreign oil.
The shale revolution continues to rewrite the U.S. energy script—just a decade ago these kinds of headlines would have seemed absurd. But thanks to fracking, America has a newfound bounty of both oil and gas, and the country’s energy debate has shifted from one of scarcity to one of abundance, as politicians and the media wrangle with the issue of ending a four-decade long ban on crude exports. These are the kinds of problems we’d like to have, because whatever the outcome, the fact remains: the United States is becoming more energy secure, courtesy of the shale boom.