Oil prices have dipped on the back of increasing Russian production and growing US drilling activity, which reached the highest level in more than three years.

Analysts expect the US operators to ramp up production to counter supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Since January last year, the OPEC has been continuing to impose supply restrictions in order to prop up oil prices.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for prices, decreased by 35 cents to reach $76.11 per barrel, while US light crude dropped 25 cents to stand at $65.49, according to Reuters.

Last week, the US operators added one new rig, bringing the total number of new rigs drilling for oil to 862, as per data released by energy services firm Baker Hughes.

This is the highest rig count since March 2015 and indicates signs of a further hike in the US production.

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By GlobalData
“Non-OPEC supply is expected to rise sharply in 2019 led by US shale growth, along with Russia, Brazil, Canada and Kazakhstan.”

The US crude output already stands at a record high of 10.8 million barrels per day, which is only slightly behind the levels pumped by the biggest producer, Russia.

US bank JP Morgan was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Non-OPEC supply is expected to rise sharply in 2019 led by US shale growth, along with Russia, Brazil, Canada and Kazakhstan.

“Oil fundamentals are expected to weaken in 2019 on the back of stronger-than-expected non-OPEC supply, but also the potential release of barrels from OPEC as the joint accord between OPEC and non-OPEC is unlikely to stay in place.”

The OPEC and Russia will meet at Vienna later this month to decide on a further course of action regarding supplies.

According to Russian news agency Interfax, the country’s oil output soared to 11.1 million barrels per day earlier this month from slightly below the 11 million barrels per day mark witnessed for most of last month.

Another factor supporting oil prices is strong demand from the Asian market, including India and China.