Oil markets, on edge about the potential loss of exports from Iran, briefly spiked in afternoon trade after the Obama administration said there is enough global oil supply to allow countries to cut imports from the No. 2 OPEC exporter.
Obama is required by law to determine by March 30, and every six months after that, whether the price and supply of non-Iranian oil are sufficient to allow consumers to "significantly" cut their purchases from Iran, a question with a very clear answer already experienced by the world market.
The impact of US and EU sanctions, aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions, pushed up international benchmark Brent crude by more than 14 percent over the past three months, prompting the United States, Britain and France to mull releasing oil from their emergency reserves.
Obama claimed that increased production by some countries as well as "the existence of strategic reserves" helped him come to the conclusion, which will allow Washington to move closer to sanctioning countries who still buy Iranian oil, but even American politicians now know that fighting Iran's oil exports would be nothing but a dream.
Oil pared gains before the close as traders focus switched back to whether consumer nations would tap strategic stockpiles to bring down prices, which has stirred worries about the economy in the US election.
Brent May crude traded up 49 cents to settle at $122.88 a barrel. Prices were up $15.50 since the end of December, the biggest quarterly rise since the first quarter of 2011.
US May crude settled at $103.02 a barrel, up 24 cents on the day and $4.19, and up over 4 percent from last quarter.
Despite the quarterly gains, Brent has traded mostly between $122 and $127 a barrel over the past five weeks, as traders balance supply losses against weak demand in the West and worries about the euro zone.
US gasoline futures, which have been supported by the shutdown of East Coast refineries and the rising price of crude, rose 26 percent for the quarter - the biggest quarterly gain since the same period in 2011.
Heating oil futures were up nearly 8 percent in the first quarter, despite the mild winter that damped demand.
Trading was light with Brent volumes 18 percent below the 30-day moving average and US crude 33 percent below average.
Oil prices got an early boost on Friday when the euro edged up against the dollar and the yen as Spain's budget boosted hopes one of the euro zone's larger economies would tighten its belt. A weaker greenback can lift dollar-denominated oil by making it less expensive for consumers using other currencies.