Oil prices fell on Tuesday after another drop in wholesale business inventories in the United States.
The US government also revised lower its forecast for global oil demand.
The Commerce Department reported that US wholesale inventories fell by 1.7% in June - for the 10th consecutive monthly drop.
US crude fell $US1.15 to settle at $US69.45 per barrel. In London, Brent crude dropped $US1.04 to settle at $US72.46 per barrel.
Prices reached a record $US147.27 per barrel on 11 July last year, but subsequently fell to below $US33 per barrel in December.
The Energy Information Administration also cut its 2009 oil demand forecast, predicting consumption would fall by 1.71 million barrels per day this year, compared with previous estimates of a drop of 1.56 million bpd.
Prices rose earlier on news that crude imports by China surged by 42% in July to a record 4.62 million bpd.