Crude rose in choppy trading on Wednesday, with Brent recovering from a 13-month low as turmoil in Iraq and Libya kept concerns about potential supply disruptions in focus.
Separately, U.S. crude prices rose despite the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reporting crude oil inventories rose 1.4 million barrels last week, against expectations stocks would be lower. The U.S. crude oil stocks build included a 418,000-barrel increase at Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for the U.S. crude contract traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
September Brent crude rose by more than $1 to over $103 a barrel. The contract, which expires on Thursday, fell as low as $102.37, the weakest for a front-month since July 1, 2013. U.S. crude rose 22 cents to end at $97.59 a barrel, after hitting its weakest since February.
Brent, the international oil benchmark, has fallen 11 percent since mid-June as a surge by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq has not yet created major supply outages, while global crude output has been rising. But traders said some in the market remained cautious, and were looking to buy contracts as prices fell towards the $100 level.