A day after sliding more than $2 a barrel, crude oil futures were mounting a comeback.

Recently, oil for February delivery was gaining $1.35 to $96.44 in New York. Reformulated gasoline was up 4 cents at $2.47 a gallon, and heating oil was adding 4 cents to $2.63 a gallon.

Natural gas was rising 4 cents to $7.92 per million British thermal units.

The prior session's selloff was likely spurring some of the buying, but the bid higher was being supported by other factors, as well. A Reuters report that Nigerian militants are preparing an attack on that nation's oil infrastructure was contributing to the strength.

Also, the weekly inventories report from the Energy Department, due Wednesday, is expected to show a drop of 1.25 million barrels of oil, according to a Bloomberg survey, which would be the latest in a series of declines.

Last week, near-term crude futures crossed $100 a barrel for the first time, but the level wouldn't hold.

As for stocks, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Sector Index was higher by 1.7% at 302.29. The Amex Oil Index was up 0.5%, led by a 2.4% advance in Sunoco ( SUN) and 1.6% increases in Valero ( VLO) and Hess ( HES).

Elsewhere, Exxon Mobil ( XOM) and ConocoPhillips ( COP) were up 0.4%, while Chevron ( CVX) was rising 0.8%.