Global oil prices rebounded slightly on Wednesday as traders awaited key US stockpiles data and eyed next week's crucial OPEC output meeting.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January rose 56 cents to $79.03 a barrel nearing midday in London.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December added 24 cents to $74.85 per barrel.
Later on Wednesday, all eyes will be on the weekly commercial crude stockpiles report from the US government's Department of Energy (DoE).
The report is a key focus for the global oil market because the United States is the world's top crude consuming nation, followed by China.
"Crude oil prices rebounded from earlier losses and edged higher today ahead of the release of the DoE report," said senior analyst Myrto Sokou at the Sucden brokerage in London.
"However, the fundamental picture remains fairly gloomy due to ongoing build-ups in crude oil stocks."
American crude inventories are expected to have fallen by one million barrels in the week to November 7, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Distillates, which include diesel and heating fuel, are seen sliding by 1.4 million barrels, while gasoline or petrol stocks are forecast to climb by 600,000 barrels.
Next week's Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil meeting meanwhile continues to dominate market sentiment.
Dealers predicted that leading producer Saudi Arabia would resist pressure from other OPEC members to cut output in order to prop up falling prices.
"The focus at the moment is on Saudi Arabia and whether it will succumb to pressure from within the OPEC cartel and outside to cut production," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.
"The indications so far are that the Saudis are unlikely to budge on their current position," he said.
Prices sank to four-year lows last week following remarks by OPEC ministers that it is unlikely to slash output at its meeting next week.
Despite a drop of more than 25 percent in prices since June, the 12-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has been divided on whether to reduce output and prevent further falls.
Venezuela and Ecuador have called publicly for a cut, while Iran has hinted at a need to reduce output as oil producing countries see their incomes slide.
But Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de facto leader and the world's top producer, has been resisting calls for an output reduction, moving instead to slash prices on crude exports to maintain market share.
OPEC pumps about a third of global crude and is currently producing just under 31 million barrels per day, around one million more than its ceiling.
It will next discuss production targets at a meeting in Vienna on November 27.