Hopes on the part of investors, oil companies and oil exporting nations for a negotiated “freeze” in global output melted away Sunday after 16 major petroleum producers meeting in Doha, Qatar, failed to reach an agreement, possibly setting the stage for further weakness in crude oil prices.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, refused to go along with the plan – which would have capped production at January levels for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as non-OPEC producers such as Russia.

News agency reports said that in talks that lasted 10 hours longer than scheduled, the kingdom would not limit its own output if Iran did not do the same. But Iran, which did not even attend the Doha meeting, has said it is determined to crank up production now that a deal to limit its nuclear program has resulted in a lifting of international economic sanctions.

“The ongoing geopolitical tension with Iran is clearly a key consideration in Saudi Arabia’s oil policy, preventing it from joining in even a vague agreement to freeze oil production at already inflated levels, and knowing that an oil price drop is likely as a result,” said Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

The oil minister of Qatar, Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada, said Sunday that the group of nations assembled “needs more time” in order to reach an agreement, according to Reuters.

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