(MENAFN - AFP) Oil prices steadied on Wednesday as traders awaited US energy stockpiles data whose release is planned to go ahead despite the government shutdown.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in November, fell 17 cents to 101.87 a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for November edged up two cents to stand at 107.96 in London midday deals.
"The main focus will be on the weekly oil fundamentals report from the Department of Energy with expectations for a large build... in crude oil inventories," said Myrto Sokou, senior research analyst at Sucden brokers.
Analysts estimate that commercial stocks of crude oil jumped by 2.1 million barrels for the week ended September 27, according to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires.
The United States is the world's biggest consumer of crude oil and the weekly report provides an indication of the strength of energy demand in the country.
Investors meanwhile appeared unruffled by the US government shutdown, which has seen about 800,000 federal workers sent home and several agencies closed or on skeleton staffing.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the oil minister of Libya, where crude production has been choked off owing to strikes, said he hopes to quickly resume the country's normal output of 1.6 million barrels per day.
"We managed to reach agreement with most people, just a few people are still making problems for us," Libyan Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Aroussi said Wednesday in London.
Libyan output plummeted to below 150,000 barrels per day at one point as strikes over alleged corruption shut production and export facilities, which helped keep global oil prices high.
Aroussi said they government was not resorting to force and was hopeful it could soon persuade the holdouts to return to work.
"As soon as we solve this issue, I believe that we can put back production in 3-4 days," Aroussi said at the Oil & Money conference.