Oil prices bounced back Wednesday from the prior day's sharp losses, boosted by renewed tensions over Iran in a market viewed as oversold.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in May, closed at $102.70 a barrel, a gain of $1.68 from Tuesday's closing level.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for May inched up 30 cents to settle at $120.18 a barrel.
Crude futures had slumped Tuesday as traders fretted over the strength of growth in the the United States, China and the eurozone and its impact on global energy demand. Brent shed $2.79 and WTI lost $1.44 on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, oil prices picked up positive momentum after the US Department of Energy reported that the nation's crude oil stockpiles rose by 2.8 million barrels in the week ended April 6.
The market gained even though most analysts estimated a rise of 2.2 million barrels.
"The US inventory just rose slightly more than expected and they were also up less than the previous API report," said David Bouckhout, a commodity strategist at TD Securities.
Bouckhout noted that the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday had released its weekly supply report, revealing an increase of 6.6 million barrels.
"After the big sell-off yesterday, there is a little bit of buying, the market feels oversold a little bit," he added.
Oil prices also found support after Iran media said the country had stopped oil exports to Germany and imports of European Union products had been cut as the EU moves towards a total embargo on Iranian oil.
"Iran has ceased its (oil) exports to Germany, after a identical measure concerning France and Britain, and it is projected that exports to Italy will also be halted," Iran's Arab-language network Al-Alam reported.
The country's English-language Press TV gave the same information. Neither network identified its sources.
It comes just days before Iran holds crucial talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear program.
The United States and its European allies suspect Iran's activities mask a drive to produce nuclear weapons; Iran denies they have any military dimension.