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Over and over again the world's oil producers, led by the oil exporting cartel OPEC, have held out hope that a cutback in production will send oil prices soaring again.

But again this week, as oil ministers from some of the world's biggest petroleum producers gather in Vienna Wednesday, there are growing doubts about whether there will be a deal. And even if there is a deal, it remains unclear whether it would have a sustained effect on prices.

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