Did the Doha meeting of oil producing countries end before it even began? Not necessarily.
On Saturday, Iran announced that it would not send a representative to the confab, which is being closely watched by analysts for hints on whether OPEC and non-OPEC producers will agree to a freeze of crude output. Given that Saudi Arabia has insisted that any deal include all member countries, Iran's absence was interpreted by some as a death knell for an agreement.
Yet sources in Doha told CNBC say that for several reasons, a "soft deal" on freezing production is still a possibility, even without Iran's involvement. Minus Tehran, oil producers assembled in Doha still account for nearly half of the world's daily output. With the exception of Libya and Iran, all of OPEC is represented at the meeting.
Though Iran's increased production and exports are perhaps the single biggest factor fueling global oversupply, the producers here still have the power to either cap or cut a sizable chunk of production. Although a lid on current levels would be at near record output, it would at least help ensure that more oil isn't put on the market by the non-Iranian producers.
Ahead of Sunday's meeting, the Sheraton Hotel in Doha is abuzz with oil ministers from around the globe, along with the journalists that cover them as final preparations are made for Sunday's oil summit. Extra security can be seen throughout the hotels property, and airport style security checks have been set up at every entrance.
Inside the ballroom where the ministers will meet, flags of each nation represented are in place, indicating where each country's representatives will be seated. Saudi Arabian oil Minister Ali Al Naimi will be sitting between Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, along with a representative form Trinidad.