Having hovered perilously close to $30 per barrel today, Brent crude bounced, after rumours emerged that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) was preparing to "co-operate" on a production cut.
Brent crude was up 1.3 per cent, at $31.23 per barrel, in late trading in New York, after the Wall Street Journal suggested that while Opec was preparing to co-operate on a cut, prices were forcing non-Opec producers to cap output.
Meanwhile, US oil benchmark WTI crude remained lower, at $27.28.
"If there is one thing harder to predict than exchange rates, it's oil prices," said Simon Smith, chief economist at FxPro.
"The price action seen over the past ten years perfectly reflects that. We were in the grip of the peak oil theory, under which supply was set to fall, while demand would outpace population growth as greater wealth lead to increased overall demand for cars, flights and other energy intensive wants.
"We are now in the midst of a secular change in oil market dynamics, disrupted by shale gas production, a growth in alternatives and a change in approach from OPEC."