The overarching concern of the past year, the ongoing Greek debt crisis that has put substantial pressure on the region's economy, continues to push oil prices down.
Bloomberg reports there had been some positive sentiment in advance of a meeting of European Union officials, but few hoped for an actual solution to the problem, limiting any gains.
Meanwhile, Iran had threatened to shut off exports of crude oil to Europe as early as this week, pushing futures higher. But the impact from this news has been blunted by speculation that Iran could not afford to cut off this source of revenue immediately, giving European companies time to find other suppliers.
"Brent has been more resilient because of what is happening in the Middle East," Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets, told Reuters. "But oil is basically trading in a range. There's a little bit of ebb and flow but not much driving it."
At 10:48 a.m. crude oil futures were down 0.15 percent, a 17 cent drop to $111.29 per barrel.