Oil prices have retreated from record highs on news of rising stocks at a key US hub, but remain above $97 a barrel.
Oil prices are still close to $100 a barrel
On Wednesday, oil prices came close to breaching the $100-a-barrel mark, boosted by a weak dollar, tight supplies and rising winter demand.
US light crude hit a record of $99.29 a barrel on Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon in Europe it was at $97.37.
Brent crude, which hit an all-time high of $96.53 on Wednesday, was trading up 28 cents to $95.12 a barrel.
Oil prices have climbed by about 45% since August.
News late on Wednesday that crude stocks in Cushing, Oklahoma, had risen 1.2 million barrels to 14.6 million barrels depressed prices, despite an overall drop in crude stocks.
"The inventory increase at this key physical delivery point of the NYMEX crude oil contract obviously caught the market somewhat flatfooted, leading to the price pullback," First Energy Capital said in its daily market statement.
Figures released on Wednesday indicating that US consumer confidence in November hit its lowest level in two years also weighed on oil prices, as they hinted at weaker demand for oil.
Earlier in the week oil prices had risen after the leaders of producers' cartel Opec decided not to increase production following their meeting at the weekend.
Adjusting for inflation, US light crude hit a record peak of $101.70 a barrel in 1980, against a backdrop of the war between Iraq and Iran.