KUALA LUMPUR Oil prices were subdued Monday ahead of the resumption of negotiations in Geneva to curb Iran's nuclear program.
Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery was down 45 cents to $93.39 a barrel at midafternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 8 cents to close at $93.84 on Friday.
Oil has traded between $93 and $96 a barrel over the past two weeks, and is down from nearly $110 a barrel in early October.
Iran will resume talks this week with six world powers -- the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany -- aimed at resolving a decade-long standoff over Iran's nuclear program.
Last week's negotiations failed to reach an agreement but the U.S. administration is hopeful that an initial deal with Iran can be reached in this next round of talks. The countries worry that Tehran is trying to assemble an atomic weapons arsenal. Iran insists it has a right to pursue a nuclear program solely for peaceful energy production and medical research
The powers are offering a gradual rollback of sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy, raising concerns of an influx of Iranian oil into world markets at a time of already abundant supplies.
Two U.S. administrative officials however, said last week that Iran would get only limited and temporary relief from economic sanctions.
Brent crude, the benchmark for an international variety of crude, shed 40 cents to $108.10 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline fell 0.3 cent to $2.636 a gallon.
- Heating oil was down 0.2 cent to $2.939 a gallon.
- Natural gas rose 3.4 cents to $3.694 per 1,000 cubic feet.