Manulife Investments Chief Investment Strategist Philip Petursson thinks it’s time for energy investors to take some profits off the table.

In an interview on BNN, Petursson said he expects a ramp-up in U.S. shale production will easily offset the impact of unrest in the Middle East, putting a cap on oil’s run higher.

“If you believe that this [unrest in the Middle East] can continue, then perhaps we can see the price break above US$60 towards US$65. But I just think that what we’ve seen over the past couple years, with the cost structure of shale in the United States, would lead to the opposite conclusion,” he said.

Petursson said he suspects that U.S. production will curb oil’s run higher, leaving markets more or less range-bound for the time being.

“We should see U.S. production start to pick up, U.S. rig counts start to pick up, and that will put a ceiling on the price, maybe just slightly higher than where we are,” he said.

Driven by OPEC’s supply cuts, oil has risen more than 33 per cent since hitting a low of US$42 in June. The TSX Energy Index has responded, rising more than eight per cent over that span as volatile natural gas prices drag on the pure-play oil producers.

Based on his assessment that U.S. drillers will blunt the impact of uncertainty in Saudi Arabia, Petursson is advising investors to consider paring their exposure to the group.

“Given the uncertainty around energy and the rally we’ve seen recently, it’s not a bad time to take some profits.”