NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude exports surged to a record 1.76 million barrels per day (bpd) in April from 1.67 million bpd in March thanks to the rising discount for U.S. crude versus the global benchmark, foreign trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed on Wednesday.
Most of the increase came from Italy and the Netherlands, which received 248,000 bpd and 104,000 bpd, respectively.
The total export figure was the highest on record since at least 1920, according to U.S. government data.
U.S. oil exports have surged since a decades-long ban on them was lifted late in 2015 and the export economics over the past two months have become even more favorable as U.S. crude’s discount to Brent widened to the most in over three years.
U.S. crude’s discount to Brent widened to more than $11 a barrel last week, the biggest since March 2015 as shale production has soared to a record.
Oil producer Occidental Petroleum Corp expects crude exports to more than triple, adding about 3.6 million bpd over the next five years, a company executive said at an industry conference on Wednesday.
China, still one of the top destinations, imported fewer barrels of U.S. crude in April, the data showed. Exports to China were about 248,000 bpd in April compared with about 380,000 bpd in March.
Canada received the highest shipments in April, at about 342,000 bpd, while South Korea and Taiwan received 102,000 bpd and 97,000 bpd respectively.
The U.S. sent its second cargo to the United Arab Emirates at about 38,000 bpd.
U.S. Census’s foreign trade oil data is published weeks earlier than closely watched U.S. Energy Information Administration trade figures. The EIA, which bases its numbers on the Census data, will release its monthly crude figures at the end of the month.
Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Phil Berlowitz