US crude prices jumped more than 10% today after a report once again suggested OPEC might resort to a production cut to reduce the world glut, and resilient stock markets added to the risk appetite in oil.
In spite of the about-turn after one of the most volatile weeks for oil, prices were poised to end the week up to 7% lower.
The United Arab Emigrates' energy minister said the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was willing to cooperate on an output cut, the Wall Street Journal reported after Thursday's settlement in US and Brent crude futures.
He also said cheap oil was forcing supply reductions that would help rebalance the market.
The UAE's comments, coming after vain efforts earlier in the week by Venezuela and Russia to stir Saudi Arabia and other major producers into agreeing to output cuts, was initially greeted with skepticism by many traders.
But after a 75% price slump since mid-2014 that has taken crude prices to more than 12-year lows, many were also inclined to believe that a rebound was due sooner or later if production tightens or demand picks up.
"We expect declining US oil production, in particular, to drive the oil price back up to $50 per barrel by the end of the year," Frankfurt-based Commerzbank said in a note.
US crude was up $2.68 at $28.89 per barrel by 5.15pm Irish time after rallying as much as 12% earlier to $29.41.
Just yesterday, it hit a 12-year low of $26.05. For the week, it was on track for a 6.5% loss.
Brent crude was up $2.72 at $32.78 a barrel, after sliding below $30 in the previous session. Weekly losses were pared to about 4%.
A rally in equity markets, with both US and European shares rebounding from recent weakness, helped to boost oil.
Some also said fewer players were chancing on having a short position in oil ahead of Monday's President Day's holiday in the United States, which made it a longer weekend break for the New York crude market.
Even so, some traders, like Tariq Zahir at New York's Tyche Capital Advisors, were looking forward to profit again from bearish bets once the rally peaks.
"It gives me great opportunity to put out new shorts in crude spreads."
Many expected wilder price swings in coming weeks.
"It's not a one-way price movement anymore" in oil, said ABN AMRO's senior energy economist Hans van Cleef said. "We will see a period of high volatility".