CALGARY, Alberta, Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil imports from Canada hit a record high of nearly 3 million barrels per day in the week ended Sept. 12, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday.
The weekly data showed Canada, the top supplier of crude to the United States, exported 2.994 million barrels of crude to its southern neighbour. That was a 20 percent increase on the same period a year earlier.
The four-week average to Sept. 12 was 2.932 million bpd.
Canada has been able to ship more crude to the United States as production in the Alberta oil sands rises despite tight capacity on export pipelines, due in part to the emergence of crude-by-rail.
Canada's National Energy Board said crude exports by rail averaged 163,000 bpd in the second quarter of 2014.
Industry players expect that number to rise sharply after Gibson Energy Inc started shipping crude on mile-long unit trains from its Hardisty, Alberta, terminal in June and Canexus Corp reopened its Bruderheim, Alberta, unit-train terminal in September following a summer shutdown.
Canada's largest pipeline company, Enbridge Inc, is also undertaking a multibillion-dollar expansion program across all parts of its export network to boost capacity. (Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Peter Galloway)