Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday, giving up gains after Saudi Arabia's oil minister gave mixed messages on future OPEC production cuts, while the market also braced for data that was expected to show a ninth straight weekly increase in U.S. crude inventories.
At the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said last year's agreement by OPEC and non OPEC countries to curb supplies and boost prices has improved oil market supply and demand fundamentals.
But Khalid said that happened only because Saudi Arabia cut beyond what it pledged, bringing the kingdom's output below 10 million barrels per day (bpd). He also said the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would not let rival producers take advantage of the cuts to underwrite their own production investments.
The group is expected to meet again in May, when it could consider extending the production cuts.