Updated from 2:53 p.m. EST
Crude oil prices Friday jumped from a near two-month low on worries about exports from Iraq and speculation OPEC might trim production.
The December futures contract closed up $2.22, or 5%, at $48.44 in Nymex floor trading, following reports that stormy weather was preventing tankers from loading oil at Iraq's southern terminal complex.
Going into today's session, prices were about 17% below their record high of $55.17 touched in late October.
The recent correction is the second in the past six months, during which time prices have hit record highs on a routine basis as traders worried about any possible disruption to supplies amid unusually strong global demand.
Hits to production in Iraq, Nigeria, Norway and the U.S. -- where Hurricane Ivan disrupted facilities in the energy-rich Gulf of Mexico in September -- have all given traders reason to bid up prices.
Recently, traders have been focusing on the level of heating oil supplies ahead of the winter, but unseasonably warm weather has helped ease concerns.
OPEC Thursday made another of its periodic efforts to talk down prices by saying demand will slow next year. The oil cartel, which has increased its official production ceiling three times for a total of 2.5 million barrels a day since July, next meets to discuss supply and demand in Cairo on Dec. 10, and some of its members are reportedly pushing for a production cut to prevent a sharp fall in prices.