Oil prices fall as Mid-East tensions ease

Crude oil prices fell on Thursday after steadying on Wednesday as fears of supply disruptions caused by escalating violence in the Middle East faded and persistent market glut and increased global output weighed on market.

North Sea Brent crude was down 46 cents at $45.71 a barrel in morning trade while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were down 21 cents at $42.83 per barrel.

US crude had risen to $43.30 earlier the session on Wednesday.

Oil prices also held above $43 a barrel on Wednesday in Asian trading following the shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkey and a slower rise in crude supplies by the oil producing countries.

Crude futures had erased early losses to settle steady on Wednesday as well after a smaller-than-expected supply build in the United States and drop in the number of US rigs actively drilling for oil.
 
Oil prices also benefited by traders and investors covering short positions before US markets close for Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday, analysts said.
 
While data from the US Department of Energy showed the country's commercial crude supplies rose by 1.0 million barrels for the week ending 20 November, rising for a ninth straight week that kept supplies more than 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average, falling rig activity in the US showed slower supplies ahead.

Brent is down by nearly 8 per cent in November and by 20 per cent this year, after tumbling from above $115 last year.

And with OPEC determined to keep pumping oil to defend market share, some of the group's members even fear prices may slump towards $20 a barrel.