Oil futures were mixed in early trading hours on Tuesday as participants prepared for fresh crude and refined inventories estimates later in the session.
The US West Texas Intermediate crude contracts were down 0.32 percent to $68.18 per barrel as of 07:20 GMT. Meanwhile, Brent futures were 0.19 percent higher at $74.20 a barrel.
Crude benchmarks settled in green territory on Monday as market players weighed comments from Iran over a potential extension of OPEC-led output cuts agreement.
Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said if oil prices continue to rise there will be no need to extend production cuts in the future.
"If the current oil price hike trend continues, there will be no necessity for extension of the OPEC agreement," Zanganeh said. "High oil price, even in the mid-term, works against OPEC interest by imposing volatility on the market and pressure on the price," he added.
Zanganeh also confirmed that Iran was exporting nearly 2.5 million barrels per day, which represents a 30 percent rise from March, according to news agency Bloomberg.
Market players are currently waiting the US to impose a fresh batch of sanctions against Iran for allegedly breaking terms of the multilateral nuclear agreement signed back in 2015.
“New Iranian sanctions in May would likely be the catalyst needed to encourage long-term buyers to revisit US E&P’s in a more serious way and could lead to materially higher oil prices, erase the backwardation in crude and provide a path for prices to stay elevated for quite some time,” explained Energy Specialist Leo Mariani.
Ahead in the day, traders will be looking at inventory estimates from the American Petroleum Institute for the week ended April 20.