Cohen said OPEC is under even more pressure to get a deal done now than when it last met.
"Three things have changed since Algiers. One is Trump was elected. Two, the earnings season showed U.S. oil producers were more resilient, and the third is the return of output from Libya and Nigeria," said Cohen.
Analysts say U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is a wild card for the oil market longer term, in more than one way. He has said he would make it easier for U.S. producers to drill by removing regulations and opening more federal land for development. Trump also supports the Keystone pipeline from Canada to the United States. All of those things could bring more oil onto an already oversupplied market.
An OPEC deal could also result in bringing on more competition from the U.S. if it triggers a jump in oil prices.
"If you get a big price reaction to the upside, it's not going to be overnight, but shale production stands to make a bigger impact next year," said Cohen. He said he is not changing his view and remains constructive on oil prices for 2017. "Something's got to give here, and the recipe for Saudi Arabia and Iran to come to the table and put something together is getting more difficult. We should all prepare for big oil price gyrations in the next few days."
A major sticking point is reportedly that Iran and Russia have said they do not want to reduce production, and Iran, on Saturday, said it was negotiating an exemption from the cut. Russia is not a member of OPEC, and while it has supported the talks, it has not said it would join in if the cartel pares back on output.
The effort to reach a deal in April in Doha fell apart when Iran refused to freeze production and Saudi Arabia refused a freeze — which means maintaining production levels, rather than increasing or decreasing them — unless all members went along with it. Now the producers are all pumping at higher levels, and the talk has switched from a freeze to an actual reduction in output.
Saudi Arabia reportedly was pushing for the steepest cuts possible, which would take 2 percent of the world's output off the market, according to The Wall Street Journal. That would result in a production ceiling of 32.5 million barrels a day, more than 1.1 million barrels a day below OPEC's October output, the Journal reported.
"Part of the game plan here for the Saudis is to bring everybody to their knees and have them crawl back to the bargaining table. It looks like (Iraq) might have buckled. We'll have to see the real thing; with Iraq, it's the math is fuzzy," said John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital. "What might be a cut for them might not be a cut in anyone else's eyes."