Oil prices rebounded on Thursday as some players covered short positions after crude prices plumbed new 12-year lows amid concerns over Iran adding to a global glut faster than expected.
Brent, the global crude benchmark, earlier broke below $30 a barrel for a second day in a row before rebounding, as a U.N. nuclear watchdog appeared likely to confirm by Friday that Iran has curtailed its nuclear program as agreed with world powers, paving the way for sanctions to be lifted against its oil.
With options for U.S. crude's front-month contract expiring at Thursday's settlement, many players were covering positions, said traders.
"Natural covering interest is buoying the market as many had $30 as an objective," said Pete Donovan, broker at Liquidity Energy in New York. "With today being Feb WTI options expiration, I can't help but notice that the $30 put has easily the largest open interest of any of the nearby strikes."