The recent drop in oil prices could be due to more than just lower demand, according to some analysts, who have suggested that the U.S. could be deliberately manipulating the market to hurt Russia at a time of geopolitical stress.
Patrick Legland, the global head of research at Societe Generale, conceded that he had no in depth knowledge of the situation but claimed that it was an "interesting coincidence" that the two events were happening at the same time.
"Is it lower demand or is it the U.S. clearly maneuvering?," he told CNBC Monday.
"I'm not so sure that it is lower demand, it might be some sort of tactical move....I don't know, but as someone from markets I'm always surprised by these kind of coincidences."
Brent crude futures edged higher on Monday morning to trade at $86.48 per barrel. The commodity has been trading near its lowest since 2010 and has seen a 25 percent dip since June with concerns of an oversupply and a lack of demand in key global markets. The U.S. has stepped up its efforts towards self-sufficiency with its shale gas industry booming over the last decade, and has become a competitor for major oil-exporting countries such as Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Meanwhile, economists have warned of mediocre global growth in the years ahead and there are also fears of deflation in places like the euro zone. Looking at his own research, Legland claimed that there was indeed a slowdown in the global economy but maintained that it wasn't to the extent at which oil prices have currently fallen.
The U.S. would obviously deny any acquisitions of manipulation and there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case. "It's very hard to prove," Timothy Ash, head of emerging markets research at Standard Bank told CNBC via email.
"I have heard such suggestions before. It is clearly useful for the West, as it adds pressure on Russia," he added.
Russia has felt the pain of tough economic sanctions from the European Union and the U.S. since the annexation of Crimea back in March. It has been blamed for supporting pro-Russian separatists who have been in conflict with Ukrainian government troops on its eastern borders. Russia's economy is heavily reliant on oil production and its growth forecasts have been hit by the geopolitical tensions.
The International Monetary Fund halved its growth forecast for Russia for 2015 in early October and Moody's ratings agency downgraded the country's sovereign debt rating on Sunday, citing the ongoing pressures of low oil prices and its restricted access to international capital markets.