Oil prices traded mixed Tuesday on the eve of US petroleum supplies data and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony to Congress on the economy and monetary policy.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for August delivery, closed at $106.00 a barrel, down 32 cents from Monday.
In London, the European benchmark, Brent North Sea crude for August, added 31 cents to close at $109.40 a barrel, on the contract's last day of trade.
The oil market "was really playing a game of wait-and-see" in quiet trade before what might be a few days of market-moving news, said Matt Smith of Schneider Electric.
"So much is coming in the next couple of days with inventories tomorrow and Bernanke, it is taking the focus off what is happening today in the crude market," Smith said.
Bernanke, in twice-yearly testimony to Congress, will address the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Wednesday and the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday and take questions from lawmakers.
The Fed chief has set markets swinging in the past two months with comments on the Fed's plan to taper $85 billion-a-month in asset purchases if economic conditions improve.
The US Department of Energy is set to publish Wednesday its weekly commercial petroleum inventories report, an indicator of the strength of demand in the world's biggest economy.
Analysts expect the report, for the week ended July 12, will show crude-oil stocks fell by 2.2 million barrels, according to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires.
Over the prior two weeks, crude supplies plummeted nearly 20 million barrels, much more than analysts had expected.
"The petroleum markets are mixed in relatively quiet trade ahead of inventory data, with consensus expectations that crude oil and gasoline stocks declined for a third consecutive week," said Tim Evans of Citi Futures.
"August Brent crude oil futures expire today and August WTI rolls off the board on Friday and so there is some share of book squaring under way," he added.