Oil prices slipped in choppy trade on Tuesday as rising output and exports from large producers offset news of lower crude supplies from Saudi Arabia.
The crude market has been in consolidation mode after a sharp rally between mid-June and late July that pushed U.S. crude futures above $50 a barrel for the first time in several weeks. Since then, crude has traded around that number as world supply has been slow to draw down.
"It's just unable to break above $50," said Kyle Cooper, consultant for ION Energy in Houston. "It's boring, but there's a fundamental justification for prices being stuck between $45 and $55 without a significant geopolitical event."