Crude oil prices held near $97 per barrel Wednesday, as traders waited for two key announcements. The U.S. Energy Information Administration releases its stockpile report Wednesday afternoon. Secondly, on Thursday the U.S. Federal Reserve may or may not announce a third round of bond buying, called quantitative easing, meant to stimulate a sluggish economic recovery. West Texas Intermediate crude oil for October delivery has ranged from $91 to $97 per barrel since early August and is now pressing against the high end of that range, as traders position themselves for both announcements. October delivery crude oil traded up 11 cents Wednesday morning to $97.28 per barrel. Natural gas lost 1.8 cents to $2.974 per million British thermal units. Home heating oil added 1.23 cents to $3.198 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline tacked on 2.31 cents to $3.0666 per gallon. At the pump, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.858 per gallon, up from Tuesday\'s $3.843, AAA reported.