Oil prices settled slightly lower on Tuesday but not before plumbing new lows seen during the 2009 financial crisis as an intensifying supply glut sparked fears the world will run out of storage for crude.
Brent and U.S. crude futures sunk beneath $40 a barrel, hitting February 2009 levels and extending Monday's 6 percent rout, before paring losses on what traders said was most likely short-covering.
Internationally traded Brent futures were down 44 cents at $40.28 a barrel by 2:33 p.m. EDT, after setting a session low at $39.81.
U.S. crude settled 14 cents lower, or 0.37 percent, at $37.51 a barrel.
Gasoline futures was also little changed after earlier falling to near 7-year lows in New York trading as the selloff in crude oil extended to a relatively stable spot on the U.S. petroleum complex.