Oil prices steady

US oil prices edged higher in quiet trade Tuesday, a day ahead of a key weekly report on US petroleum inventories, while Brent prices slipped in London.

The US benchmark futures contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in July, climbed 19 cents to $102.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent North Sea crude for July slipped one cent to settle at $108.82 a barrel on the IntercontinentalExchange in London.

On the New York market, there was "not a lot going on," said Robert Yawger of Mizuho Securities USA. "People are waiting for the inventories numbers."

WTI prices moved in an extremely narrow band, between $102.23 and $102.79, he said.

The Department of Energy is expected to report Wednesday that US crude inventories fell by 100,000 barrels last week, according to a poll of analysts by Dow Jones Newswire.

US petroleum products were forecast to show gains, including a 300,000 barrel increase in gasoline inventories.

Meanwhile, talks were under way in Berlin between Russian natural gas giant Gazprom and Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz aimed at avoiding a cut in Russian gas supplies to Ukraine which could disrupt supplies to Europe.

"The talks to keep the gas flowing seem to be going well. Word is that both sides are making concessions and that is the main reason that oil is starting to fall," said Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group, referring to Brent prices.