Brent crude rose on Friday on uncertainty over Saudi oil output following the death of King Abdullah, while U.S. crude prices fell, with traders citing a reported build at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub and the partial shutdown of an Indiana refinery.
Salman, the late king's brother and successor to the throne, is expected to continue OPEC's policy of keeping oil output steady to protect market share. Still, the transition should be bullish for Brent, said Bob Yawger of Mizuho Securities USA.
"Any time there's uncertainty in the market, you tend to have support," he said.
Brent was up 24 cents to trade at $49 a barrel. It rose as high as $49.80 after reports of the Saudi king's death. Meanwhile, U.S. crude settled 1.6 percent lower, at $45.59 a barrel, the lowest settlement since March 2009.
A trader said energy data provider Genscape estimated that U.S. crude stockpiles in Cushing, Oklahoma, rose 1.7 million barrels in the week ending Tuesday.