Oil prices have slid near their bottom point, opening the door for increased shareholder activism in small-to-mid-sized public oil companies, industry professionals said on Friday.
"What you're going to see in the market in 2015 is an immense amount of activists turning their guns toward oil companies," said Chad Brownstein, CEO of Rocky Mountain Resources, on "Closing Bell."
Buoyed by high prices and a shale boom, oil companies remained largely "immune" to significant overhauls in the last five years, Brownstein said. But as U.S. crude futures have plunged lower—ending below $55 a barrel on Friday—smaller oil companies have grown more vulnerable, particularly to hedge fund influence.
"It's going to be a banner year for the hedge funds in the activism space," Brownstein said.