Oil price steady near $92 a after rising along with Wall Street

The price of oil was steady Wednesday after closing nearly 1 per cent higher a day earlier.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for February delivery was down 3 cents at US$92.56 a barrel at 12 a.m. ET in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.The contract rose 79 cents to settle at $92.59 in New York on Tuesday.

Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was down 24 cents at $105.36

The price of U.S. oil has fallen steadily since the beginning of the year because supplies of crude and fuel appear ample enough to offset rising demand. Tuesday marked only the third gain of the month for U.S. crude, and came along with a rise in the U.S. stock market.

Global supplies could still be on the rise, which could mean lower prices for international crude, analysts say. Libyan crude production is beginning to ramp up after protests and unrest cut production late last year.

North Sea output is due to increase with the restart of the Buzzard oil field.

An agreement Sunday between Iran and six world powers may enable Iran’s oil industry, whose exports were severely limited by sanctions over its nuclear program, to sell more crude after the deal takes effect Jan. 20.

Later this week, investors will be monitoring new information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products. Data for the week ending Jan. 10 is expected to show a draw of 1.6 million barrels in crude oil stockpiles. It is also expected to show an increase of 1.7 million barrels in gasoline stockpiles, according to a survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

The expected draw would be the seventh consecutive decline in U.S. crude oil inventories. The report from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration will come out on Wednesday.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline was down 0.7 cent at $2.627 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 1.5 cents to $4.354 per 1,000 cubic feet

— Heating oil inched up 0.4 cent to $2.940 a gallon.