Oil prices fell on Tuesday on anticipation of another weekly build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
Position squaring ahead of the expiry of the front-month contract in U.S. crude also accounted for a large part of activity, traders and analysts said.
"The bears seem to be having an edge this week after the strong gains of the past week," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
U.S. crude for May, which expired at the close of Tuesday's session, closed down $1.12, or 1.99 percent, at $55.26 a barrel. U.K. North Sea Brent crude, the more widely used benchmark for oil slipped $1.30, or 2 percent, to $62 a barrel.
A preliminary Reuters survey on Monday showed that U.S. crude inventories likely rose by 2.4 million barrels last week, for a 15th straight week of builds.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, will issue its own reading on the inventory situation at 4:30 p.m. EDT, before official stockpile data due from the government on Wednesday.