U.S. crude oil prices tumbled from their highs Thursday as some speculators apparently backed off from bets that Middle East unrest would worsen.
The market also may have been calmed after Saudi Arabian officials reiterated their intent to replace any crude supplies lost because of production cutbacks in strife-torn Libya.
Near-term oil futures in New York ended floor trading at $97.28 a barrel, down 82 cents from $98.10 on Wednesday and down from an intraday high Thursday of $103.41.
The price continued to decline in electronic trading, to $96.92 a barrel at about noon PST.
Oil's price in London also fell sharply from its highs. So-called Brent crude reached $119.79 a barrel early in the session but was trading recently at about $111.
The U.S. stock market, which slid for much of Thursday's session, recouped most of its losses by about noon, with an hour of trading left to go.
The Dow Jones industrial average was off 46 points to 12,059, after earlier losing as much as 122 points.