NEW YORK: Crude oil futures recouped losses by midday on Friday to trade largely steady ahead of a weekly reading on the U.S. oil rig count, but traders said the market remained under pressure on worries that Iran may get an agreement to lift sanctions on its oil exports.
Traders are awaiting the weekly survey on the U.S. oil rig count from industry firm Baker Hughes, due at 1:00 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), which the market relies on as an indicator of forthcoming supply.
The market was volatile after initially moving up after a rally in Chinese equities in Asian trading overnight and after optimism that Greece may have a bailout deal by the weekend.
But weak gasoline prices, worries about a potential Iranian nuclear deal and the International Energy Agency's (IEA) forecast of weaker oil demand later weighed on the market.
London-traded Brent crude was up 5 cents at $58.66 barrel by 12:33 p.m. EDT (633 GMT), after trading between $59.66 and $57,86. Brent had settled up more than 3 percent on Thursday, a powerful rebound from Tuesday's three-month lows.
U.S. crude was flat at $52.78 a barrel in New York, after an earlier high of $53.89 and a low of $51.96.