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US crude oil exports hit all-time high as production also closes in on record

  • U.S. weekly crude oil exports hit an all-time high at 2.13 million barrels a day.
  • American oil output was at 9.55 million barrels a day, near a high going back to July 2015.
  • Oil prices have been rallying on expectations OPEC will extend production cuts, potentially keeping open the window of opportunity for U.S. crude oil exports.
The Eagle Ford crude oil tanker sails out of the the NuStar Energy dock at the Port of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016.
Eddie Seal | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Eagle Ford crude oil tanker sails out of the the NuStar Energy dock at the Port of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016.

Oil prices pulled back on Wednesday after data showed U.S. crude exports surged to an all-time high and American drillers pumped near record levels.

The United States exported 2.13 million barrels a day of oil in the week through Oct. 27, the first time the nation has crossed the 2 million-barrels-per-day mark.

Meanwhile, weekly figures showed total U.S. crude production at 9.55 million barrels a day, just short of the Sept. 29 high going back to July 10, 2015. The week's total output was not far off the all-time high of 9.61 million barrels per day, struck the week ended June 5, 2015.

The preliminary weekly figures are later revised.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at $54.52 a barrel, 14 cents higher, after topping out at $55.22 earlier in the session.

WTI's discount to international benchmark Brent crude has made U.S. oil more attractive to overseas buyers. Brent was trading at $61.06, up 12 cents, on Wednesday.

"Brent above $60 will keep WTI higher as they export it and replace that expensive Brent," Bob Iaccino, chief market strategist at Path Trading Partners, told CNBC's "Futures Now" on Tuesday.

American drillers have filled some of the supply gap left this year by OPEC and other oil exporters, who have cut production since January in order to drain a global glut of crude. Oil prices have been rallying on expectations that the producers will extend the deal, which is set to expire in March, through the end of 2018.

U.S. oil shipments have surged from roughly 400,000 barrels a day at the end of 2015, when the United States lifted a 40-year ban on crude exports. The trade has been fueled by a boom in U.S. oil output from shale fields, where producers use advanced drilling methods to coax fossil fuels from rock formations.