Oil slipped from a five-month high above $71 a barrel today as Russian comments signalling the possible easing of a supply-cutting deal with OPEC countered concern that violence in Libya could further tighten global markets.
Supply curbs led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have underpinned a more than 30% rally this year for Brent crude.
This is despite downward pressure from fears of an economic slowdown and weaker demand.
At one stage today Brent - the global benchmark - rose to $71.34 a barrel, the highest since November, but was down 59 cents at $70.51 in later trade.
US crude also hit a November 2018 high of $64.79 but was later down 23 cents at $64.17.
Russia, a participant in the OPEC-led supply cuts that expire in June, signalled yesterday it wants to raise output when it next meets with OPEC because of falling stockpiles.
President Vladimir Putin said today Russia did not support an uncontrollable rise in oil prices and that the current price suited Moscow.
US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have deepened the OPEC supply cut and concern has grown this week about the stability of Libyan output.
The OPEC member pumps around 1.1 million barrels per day, just over 1% of global supply.
A warplane yesterday attacked Tripoli's only functioning airport as eastern forces advancing on the Libyan capital disregarded international appeals for a truce.
Yet despite generally bullish sentiment, concerns that an economic slowdown this year will hit fuel consumption have been preventing crude prices from rising even higher, traders said.
The International Monetary Fund today cut its global economic growth forecast for 2019.
Increases in US crude inventories have also put a lid on gains.
US crude stocks are forecast to have risen by 2.5 million barrels last week, the third weekly addition in a row.