Oil prices were higher amid speculation the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will reject calls for an increase in production.
In afternoon trade New York's main contract, light sweet crude for January delivery, was up 37 US cents at 88.69 dollars a barrel from 88.32 dollars in late US trades Tuesday. Prices have fallen 11 percent from a record $99.29 reached on Nov. 21.
The group is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Abu Dhabi to discuss the its oil production levels. A slew of consumer countries have called on the countries to increase their output, including U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.
OPEC, which supplies more than 40 percent of the world's oil, will leave output unchanged when it meets later today, a Persian Gulf oil official involved in the negotiations said.
The cartel's most influential member, Saudi Arabia has refused to make its position public, while other members, including Iran, Libya, Qatar and Venezuela, have voiced opposition to a hike.
Still we believe inventories are very comfortable, Qatari Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah al-Attiyah said late Tuesday.
OPEC last decided to raise production in September, when it agreed to provide the market with an extra 500,000 barrels of oil a day. The increase took effect on Nov 1 and raised its daily output quota to 27.25 million barrels.