Oil prices changed little on Tuesday, prior to the unfinalized talks from major producers on potential changes in February production to continue later in the day, and as new COVID-19 lockdowns fueled fuel demand concerns.
Brent crude futures for March fell 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $51.03 a barrel by 0726 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate crude for February was at $47.63 a barrel, up 1 cent.
Both contracts fell more than 1% on Monday after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies failed to agree on changes in oil production in February.
Saudi Arabia opposed further pumping due to new lockdowns, while Russia called for higher output, citing increased demand. OPEC + will continue talks on Tuesday.
Britain came under a new lockdown Monday as cases of COVID-19 increased following the emergence of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus.
The near-term demand growth is slowing due to the resurgence of Covid-19 in North America, Europe and the Middle East, with deeper dips likely to occur over the next few months.
At the same time, rising tensions in the Middle East support oil prices.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps captured a South Korean-flagged tanker in Gulf waters Monday and arrested its crew. A dispute between Tehran and Seoul over freezing Iranian funds in South Korean banks due to US sanctions sparked this action.