London - Brent crude steadied around $111 on Monday as the dollar weakened and after a hurricane swept up the US east coast, with no reports so far of serious damage to refineries and terminals.
Brent crude was down 28 cents at $111.08 a barrel as of 11:48 GMT, after slipping as low as $110.53. US crude gained 18 cents to $85.55.
Fears of disruptions to US oil supplies from weather damage helped support oil at the end of last week, but tropical storm warnings for the US east coast have been discontinued, the National Hurricane Center said.
Markets had also been supported by expectations that the US Federal Reserve might launch a third round of quantitative easing (QE3). Fed chairperson Ben Bernanke made no such announcement, but left it open as a possibility for later.
"With the Fed and the hurricane headlines fading, investor concern should shift to more intractable issues, such as slowing global macro trends and European debt issues," said Edward Meir, senior commodities analyst at brokers MF Global.
"We think energy markets will likely be mildly on the defensive over the next few days as some of the events that have lent a measure of support are now behind us," he said.
Seven refineries with a total of 1.23 million barrels per day (bpd) capacity - 73% of the 1.7 million bpd total in the US northeast - had been in the storm's projected path.
Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday, has left at least 15 dead, as many as 3.6 million customers without electricity and thousands of downed trees.
Brent and US crude grades moved in opposite directions as traders punted on their price differential to widen further on differing fundamental outlooks, analysts said.
The Brent-WTI spread for October was at $25.70 a barrel. It hit a record of almost $27 earlier this month.
Libyan rebel forces converged on Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte on Monday, hoping to seal their revolution by capturing the last bastions of a fallen but perhaps still dangerous strongman.
Libya's new government plans to restart production at two eastern oilfields in mid-September and resume shipping oil from Tobruk by the end of the same month.
Libya's largest oil refinery, Ras Lanuf, is intact despite recent intense fighting and staff are preparing to restart operations, its general manager told Reuters.
Analysts say limited production of Libyan crude oil could resume within a few weeks, although the country may not get back to its pre-civil-war output of 1.6 million bpd for up to three years.
US crude benefited from comments by Bernanke that left open the possibility of further action to stimulate the world's biggest economy.
The US central bank's policy panel will meet for two days next month to discuss its options to provide additional monetary stimulus, among other topics, Bernanke said on Friday.
But he stopped short of announcing any new stimulus measures. The potential of stimulus measures weighed on the dollar.
Stock markets also found some support from Bernanke's comments.
Market participants will be watching a slew of economic data out of the US this week for further insight into the health of the world's biggest economy. Key will be non-farm payroll data for August on Friday.