* U.S. crude inventories rise to 2018 high of 436 mln barrels
* U.S. crude oil production hits record high of 10.62 mln bpd
* Analysts expect U.S. oil production to rise further still
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE, May 3 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell early on Thursday, pulled down by a rise in U.S. crude inventories and record weekly U.S. production, which is countering efforts by producer cartel OPEC to cut supplies and prop up prices.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 28 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $67.65 per barrel at 0004 GMT.
Brent crude oil futures were at $73.04 per barrel, down 32 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.
Prices were pulled down by a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday showing U.S. crude inventories jumped by 6.2 million barrels to 435.96 million barrels C-STK-T-EIA in the week to April 27, marking a 2018 high.
“The (EIA) report showed a much larger than expected crude build for last week as well as an unexpected build in gasoline inventories,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
U.S. oil production also hit a fresh record of 10.62 million barrels per day (bpd), a jump of more than a quarter since mid-2016.
The United States now produces more crude oil than top exporter and OPEC-kingpin Saudi Arabia.
Only Russia currently pumps more oil, at around 11 million bpd.
O’Loughlin said that relatively high oil prices, supported by healthy demand and production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to tighten markets, “are encouraging U.S. shale producers to continue ramping up production.”
Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin