OPEC won’t save oil prices: Trader

Thursday's OPEC meeting is expected to have a profound effect on sliding oil prices. But according to one oil trader, it is not likely to be the effect that bulls are looking for.

OPEC nations "would certainly like [the oil price] to be higher, but in the short-term, I haven't heard anything that's going to cause it to go higher," Ray Carbone of Paramount Options said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now."

Initial news out of Vienna, where the meeting is to be held, has not been encouraging. An early meeting between Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Mexico yielded no results. In fact, Igor Sechin of Russia's Rosneft said on Tuesday that due to operational reasons, Russia is unable to cut oil output in the near-term.

Read MorePre-OPEC Saudi, Russia oil meet fails to agree output cut

This news led to skepticism that OPEC would be able to agree to cut production substantially—and oil prices got punished intraday as a result. In fact, WTI crude oil closed Tuesday at the lowest level since September 2010.

"The one that matters the most is the Saudis, and is it in their interest to come in there with an almost unilateral big cut to surprise the market? I'm not sure it is at the moment," Carbone said.

Meanwhile, a smaller cut "could almost be worse than nothing. It would be viewed as a token cut which means they've used some bullets already."

Read MoreOPEC needs to 'wake up' to shale revolution

OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
Patti Domm | CNBC
OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

Carbone adds that "whatever happens, if more downside continues, we're setting ourselves up back to those times in 1985, 1999 when oil touched those lows of $10. I'm not saying we're going there, but the seeds of a big rally can be sewn in further downside in this market."

In the very near-term, though, Carbone advises caution.

"I don't think anyone want to stick their neck out to get run over by the unforeseen freight train," he said. "We're going to be glued on Thursday to what's going on, and jump into the fray on Friday."

Of course, another option is to buy crude oil options in order to take advantage of the potential volatility, as Harry Tchilinguirian and Gareth Lewis-Davies of BNP Paribas (who, incidentally, do expect OPEC to cut supply) recommend in a Tuesday note.

"The binary outcome of the 27 Nov meeting will inevitably lead to a sharp move in prices in one direction or the other, particularly as liquidity will be thin with U.S. markets closed over Thanksgiving," the strategists write. "We have therefore advocated a long volatility position."

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