The price of oil could rise above US$100 per barrel and stay there for years, one seasoned energy expert says.

Speaking with BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman on Tuesday, Eric Nuttall, partner and senior portfolio manager at Ninepoint Partners, said the price of oil is set to surge in the months ahead despite the risks of a global recession. He pointed to decade-low oil inventories as the main catalyst for the possible surge in price and noted that investors who own Canadian oil producers would be rewarded handsomely.

“We’re in a multi-year bull market for oil, which I think not only will we see a US$100 high, but we’ll stay there for several years. And the amount of returns coming back to us during that time frame will be unbelievably attractive,” Nuttall said.  

The price oil of has fallen from the US$100 high it reached within the past year to US$80.89 per barrel as of late-morning trading on Tuesday, but Nuttall says the commodity will return to triple digits by the summer.  

“You’re going to have to see these massive weekly draws, week after week after week, both in the United States and globally (to see oil prices rise). We think that’s going to start in May and really continue in June, July and August,” he added. 

He believes the companies best positioned to benefit from this rise in oil prices are Canadian heavy oil producers such as Cenovus Energy Inc., Suncor Energy Inc., MEG Energy Corp., Athabasca Oil Corp., and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Even if oil doesn’t reach the highs he is calling for, he added that the average of these companies will still deliver a 20 per cent dividend to investors next year while keeping production flat for the next 30 years. Nuttall explained this is possible because the industry has the strongest balance sheets in its history, record free cash flow and a commitment to returning capital to investors.

The only catch is staying committed to these investments for the long run, he cautioned.  

“I think this is at least a five to six year investment theme. I wouldn’t commit capital unless you can look out a year out,” Nuttall said.