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Close to bottom, but won't rule out $40 oil: Analyst

Crude has fallen almost 40 percent in the past two months, and one oil analyst told CNBC he thinks the bottom may be near—although he wouldn't be surprised by a further drop.

"I am not ruling out $40 oil but I think we are very close to the bottom if not we are at the bottom," Oppenheimer's Fadel Gheit said in an interview on "Squawk on the Street."

When oil prices rise, they usually go higher than what's supported by the fundamentals, and when they go down it's the same situation, he explained.

"I don't think oil prices below $50 will be sustainable, but I also did not think that oil prices above $100 were sustainable either," he said.

A worker walks at the Nahr Bin Umar field, Iraq.
Essam Al-Sudani | Reuters
A worker walks at the Nahr Bin Umar field, Iraq.

Early Wednesday, Brent crude dipped to $49.66 per barrel, a level last hit in May 2009, before rising back over $50. U.S. crude futures dropped to $46.83, the lowest since April 2009, before recovering.

(For the latest Brent crude prices click here. For the latest U.S. crude prices click here.)

While low oil is good for Main Street, giving consumers more money to spend elsewhere, Wall Street is a bit spooked by it, Gheit said.

"A lot of people think the weakness in oil prices could be a symptom for something else, which is basically slower economic growth globally," he said. "That's what scares people."

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Because he thinks oil below $50 is not sustainable, Gheit said a year or two from now it could probably be a buying opportunity.

However, "you have to have a lot of nerve in order for you to make this conclusion."

Survival of the fittest

The collapse of oil has essentially led to the "survival of the fittest" when it comes to oil producing nations, Gheit said.

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Specifically, Venezuela and Russia will feel the most pain.

Venezuela was already running a deficit when oil was at $100, he said. "Throwing another $100 is not going to bail them out. It's mismanagement, it's incompetence."

Similarity Russia never diversified its economy away from oil, he added.

As for any change of plans by Saudi Arabia if there is a change of leadership, Gheit said no way. He believes the country will continue to produce oil without cutting production.

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That's because Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who was in poor health and hospitalized last week, has named his successor and a number two who will be the day-to-day manager.

"They have to beat the competition, basically Russia, into submission. We are not here yet so I think the pain will continue for a longer time."

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