The ban on crude exports from the U.S. was lifted at the end of 2015, and exports ticked up in the following year, but only modestly. 2017, however, was the year that the floodgates opened. In the first half of the year, there were several weeks when the U.S. topped 1 million barrels per day (mb/d), but exports averaged about 750,000 bpd between January and June. (Click to enlarge) In the third quarter, the export machine really kicked into high gear, and Hurricane Harvey was arguably the spark. It may seem odd at first blush that a disastrous storm that ravaged Texas would be the thing that spurred a rise in U.S. oil exports, but because so many refineries were damaged, a lot of the oil produced in Texas had to go elsewhere. That surplus of crude and the temporary shortage of refining capacity was visible in the discount […]