Updated from 1:04 p.m. EDT
Oil futures fell Tuesday as a rally that has spanned five consecutive sessions finally met resistance around the $54-a-barrel mark.
Nymex crude for November delivery was closed down $1.13 to $52.51 after earlier touching yet another new record high for the 22-year-old contract. The early rally followed warnings from several U.S. energy producers that Gulf Coast production might not recover from storm damage before next year.
Oil's 2004 rally is approaching 70%, a gain that periodically has attracted profit-takers.
Supporting crude earlier was a report from the International Energy Agency predicting daily world crude demand that is 200,000 barrels a day higher than it forecast last month. The group put world demand at 82.4 million barrels a day in 2004, though it predicted an easing in 2005 as higher prices begin to take their toll.
Overseas labor unrest also weighed on early sentiment. A rig workers' strike in Norway could expand today, while in Nigeria, producers are struggling to keep exports flowing amid a general strike that could last all week.
On Monday, an arbitration panel in Moscow ordered the embattled oil concern Yukos to pay about $1.5 billion in fines as part of a sweeping effort to collect back taxes. Reports Tuesday said Russia now plans to sell part of the company's main oil unit.