Futures fell for the third day in NY, losing as much as 1.1 per cent to hit their lowest level since June 22, but US government's data showed a surprise gain in nationwide stockpiles on Wednesday.
A general view shows the Bangchak oil refinery in Bangkok, Thailand, October 3, 2017.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 0.2% at $73.61 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.
Saudi Arabia's production increase shows it's delivering on promises to prevent prices from damaging the global economy after Brent crude reached a three-year high above $80 a barrel earlier this summer.
Futures reversed course after trading lower on concerns about oversupply early in the session.
Crude inventories rose by 3.8 million barrels in the week to July 27, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.8 million barrels.
The speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in NY and London by 5,287 contracts to 407,001 during the week ending July 31, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russian Federation had earlier cut output to rebalance supply and demand.
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"Oil is holding up reasonably well".
The question regarding Iranian oil supply now is, can the Trump Administration get everybody else except China, which has already said it won't recognize USA sanctions on Iran, out of the market, according to the strategist.
Crude prices remained supported by the prospect of an Iranian supply squeeze following the imposition of USA oil sanctions, with yesterday's rally stymied by short-term bearish supply factors that continue to weigh on prices.
"At the moment, there is a mismatch in timing, where there is increasing OPEC supply and yet we're not seeing a significant reduction in Iranian supply", Patterson said.
"There are a lot of escalation points that could occur very quickly and that worries me", Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance in Sydney, said.
U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of an worldwide nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran has angered Tehran.
China said it would hit back if the United States takes further steps hindering trade, as the Trump administration considers slapping a 25 per cent tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods. China has said it will retaliate.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported total non-farm payrolls increased 157,000 in July, lower than the net average gain of 203,000 over the last 12 months.
Concerns about demand from China also increased Friday as state oil major Sinopec cut its purchases of USA crude.