Oil prices flat amid ample supplies as US politicians prepare to debate debt ceiling

The price of oil was flat Tuesday, kept in a holding pattern by ample supplies and uncertainty about the outcome of negotiations in Washington on the U.S. debt limit.

Benchmark oil for February delivery was down 1 cent to $95.55 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 9 cents to settle at $95.56 a barrel on the Nymex on Monday.

Concerns linger about the U.S. economy, with lawmakers wrangling over spending cuts and the nation's debt ceiling. Though Republican lawmakers are expected to accept a temporary increase in the borrowing limit, a final deal is still not in sight.

Leaders in the U.S. Congress on Monday unveiled legislation to permit the government to continue borrowing money through May 18 in order to stave off a first-ever default on U.S. obligations. It is slated for a vote on Wednesday.

"Despite the firmer tone in equity markets oil prices have struggled to match the positive sentiment ... Concerns about oversupply continue to limit upside progress," Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said in an email commentary.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was up 3 cents to $111.92 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Natural gas added 5.9 cents to $3.625 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 0.5 cent to $2.816 per gallon.

— Heating oil rose 1.7 cents to $3.059 a gallon.