Oil prices steadied on July 24 as tension between the U.S. and Iran highlighted risks to supply and trade disputes raised prospects for slower economic growth and weaker energy demand.
Brent crude oil was unchanged at $73.06 a barrel by 6:45 a.m. CST (11:45 GMT). U.S. light crude was 35 cents higher at $68.24.
"The impact on oil supplies if U.S.-Iran tensions escalate significantly cannot be underestimated," said Abhishek Kumar, senior analyst at Interfax Energy. "Market participants are also keeping a close eye on the U.S.-China trade war."
Both crude oil benchmarks have fallen this month as crude supplies from Russia, Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC have increased and some unscheduled production losses have eased.
Market sentiment has been driven by geopolitical worries, namely fears that supply could be disrupted by confrontation in the Middle East or that Washington's trade dispute with its major trading partners could dampen global growth.
Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer which pumps 3.75 million barrels a day, has come under increasing U.S. pressure, with the administration of President Donald Trump pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November.
Saudi Arabia and other large producers are ramping up output to offset losses that are likely to come as the November deadline approaches.
G20 finance leaders voiced concern over the weekend about the risk to global growth from trade tensions between the U.S. and China, among others.
"It is surely only a matter of time before something tangible yields from the ongoing trade war stories and it probably won't be a pretty outcome," said Matt Stanley, a fuel oil broker at Freight Investors Services in Dubai.
"I imagine crude will stay in a fairly narrow range over the next few days," Stanley said.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude inventories at the U.S. crude futures delivery hub at Cushing, Okla., rose in the four days to July 20, according to data supplier Genscape, traders said.
On a weekly basis, stockpiles at the hub were expected to fall for the 10th consecutive week, traders said.
A Reuters survey on July 23 estimated on average that total U.S. crude stocks fell by 3.2 million barrels last week, after rising in the previous week.
U.S. industry body the American Petroleum Institute will release its inventories data for last week at 3:30 p.m. CDT (20:30 GMT) on July 24.