Russian oil production increased to an average of 10.73 million barrels per day in 2015, the highest level since the fall of the former Soviet Union in 1991, the Interfax news agency cited the Energy Ministry in Moscow as saying Saturday.

This compares to the 10.58 million barrels per day the ministry reported in 2014.

A barrel, the standard unit in which oil is measured, is equivalent to 159 litres.

Along with the United States and Saudi Arabia, Russia is one of the world's largest producers of oil. More than a third of the 2015 total was produced by the state oil company Rosneft.

Russia's oil industry is more than 50-per-cent state-owned. Exports of raw materials are a major source of national income.

The massive drop in the oil price - by around a third in 2015 - has resulted in large gaps in Russia's budget and has heightened the economic crisis in the country.

Despite this, experts in Moscow think there will be a further rise in production in 2016, which will create further downward pressure on the global oil price.

Russia is not a member of the OPEC oil cartel.

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