Crude oil prices almost unchanged as early enthusiasm tempered by supply news

The price of oil bounced around on Wednesday but finished almost where it began.

At the end of the session, benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude was up three cents at US$92.12 a barrel.

Oil had risen as high as US$92.85 per barrel in the morning after gains in European stocks. But then the price dipped after the U.S. government reported a bigger than expected increase in U.S. crude supplies.

Supplies rose by 2.9 million barrels last week. That was almost double what analysts had forecast, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies also rose. Analysts had predicted a decline.

Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 78 cents to US$113.22 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, heating oil fell almost a penny to US$3.1894 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), natural gas gained 3.3 cents to US$3.47 per 1,000 cubic feet and wholesale gasoline fell 6.4 cents to US$2.7817 a gallon.