The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' annual World Oil Outlook released Tuesday projected oil demand would hold at 1.9 million barrels per day for the next several years. However, the forecast also said economic uncertainties had risen due to the European debt crisis, the earthquake in Japan and a completion or diminishing of economic stimulus measures around the globe.
In addition to slow growth in developed nations, OPEC said the global slowdown had also reached the larger emerging nations.
Equities on Wall Street were knocked hard by concern over Europe's debt crisis. The dollar, in response, made strong gains, which works against commodities traded in U.S. dollars.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for December delivery slipped off a midday high of $97.84 to settle at $96.02 per barrel. Home heating oil gave up 1.42 cents to $3.1019 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline lost 5.64 cents to $2.65 per gallon.
Henry Hub natural gas prices lost 8.7 cents to $3.658 per million British thermal units.
At the retail level, the average U.S. price of unleaded gasoline rose to $3.43 per gallon Wednesday from Tuesday's $3.414, AAA said.