Oil prices pared early gains on Tuesday, as supply concerns in Norway and Libya were tempered by the United States' indication that it would consider requests for waivers from Iranian oil sanctions.
Benchmark Brent oil futures were up 84 cents at $78.91 per barrel by 2:28 p.m. ET, after hitting a session peak of $79.51. U.S. light crude futures ended Tuesday's session up 26 cents at $74.11, backing off the day's high of $74.70.
Earlier in the session, prices had been within striking distance of the four-year highs. But prices retreated after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States would consider requests from some countries to be exempted from sanctions on Iranian oil that it will put in effect in November
"That basically took the wind out of the sails from the market," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
"But it isn't unlike anything that they've said before. But it all depends on which countries they're talking about. Is it big buyers of Iranian crude? Is it India?...Is it temporary waivers?"