Crude oil is surging on news of the geopolitical crisis in Iraq, but the spike might not even be close to over, according to Oppenheimer senior energy analyst Fadel Gheit.
"Iraq is responsible for 3 million barrels a day of crude oil supply," Gheit pointed out on Thursday's "Futures Now." So "if Iraq stops exporting oil… add that to the disruption in Libya, the situation in Nigeria, you'll have a total of more than 4 million barrels of lower supply worldwide. And that could push oil prices to a much higher level—maybe 10,15 dollars higher from here."
With crude oil settling at about $106.50 per barrel on Thursday, already a nine-month high, the high estimate would mean crude oil above $120. And lest investors consider that impossible, Gheit is quick to remind that "we've experienced $150 oil five years ago—and we did not have disruption of 4 million barrels."
Sunni rebels have taken control of several areas in Iraq, including the second largest city, Mosul. Issues with Iraqi oil production and export could crop up soon.
"I think oil prices will go higher. How much higher will depend on the magnitude of supply," but "most likely, we will see Iraq oil production decrease," Gheit said.
According to the analyst, oil prices are already a third higher than they otherwise would be without any disruptions.
"If it were not for the global tension, oil prices should be closer to $80, not $105, where we have them right now," he said.
Of course, spiking oil could have broad ramifications on the U.S. economy.
"Very typically, economic expansions come to a screeching halt when you get a big pop in oil," warned ConvergEx Group chief market strategist Nicholas Colas.