With Russia clarifying that it will not attend Wednesday’s meeting in Vienna, the optimism of an oil output cut deal being reached this week are looking increasingly distant. Objections to the deal continue to emanate from both Iran and Iraq, each of which believes they should be exempted from any production cuts or freezes, putting the onus on Gulf nations to fill the gap with deeper output cuts. The current structure of the agreement according to those close to the negotiation is for a 1.200 million barrel per day cut from production levels reported in October. Hurting the likelihood of any pronounced gain in oil prices if a deal is reached is Russia’s abstention from attending talks, instead preferring to wait for the outcome of OPEC’s meeting before deciding on any production cap. In the meantime, Brent is trading just shy of $48.00 per barrel.