Crude prices could go up gradually to reach 55 U.S. dollars per barrel in 2017, a U.S. oil executive said on Monday.
Steve Suellentrop, president of the Hunt Oil Company, made the remarks at the opening of an annual international petroleum conference in Abu Dhabi.
U.S. crude was traded early Monday at above 45 dollars a barrel, down from a high of 110 dollars a barrel in June 2014, but up from below 27 dollars a barrel seen in early 2016.
Asked by Xinhua on the sidelines of the 32nd edition of the annual Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Conference (ADIPEC) whether the oil industry has bottomed out, Suellentrop said "I don't know yet. It's hard to tell."
ADIPEC, the biggest oil and gas conference in the Middle East, runs through Thursday.
Suellentrop said Hunt Oil Company, one of the largest privately-owned firms in the United States, plans to conquer new markets in 2017 "to generate more cash."
According to research firm S&P Global Platts, the oil and gas industry is undergoing a major round of downsizing and that it can take up to three years for major oil firms to reach 2014 profitability levels.