Investors stand to make as much as 30 percent on energy debt based on the current price of obligations and the projected cost of oil over the next two years, billionaire investor Marc Lasry told CNBC on Thursday.
"Three months ago, the debt of a number of energy companies was trading at par or higher, and today that same debt is trading anywhere between 50 cents and 70 cents on the dollar, so I think you can generate equity returns," the chairman and CEO of Avenue Capital said in a "Squawk Box" interview.
The consensus is that crude oil is going to be at $70 to $90 two years from now, he said. If that's correct, debt purchased at 60 cents today will be worth par, yielding 30 percent returns, said Lasry, who specializes in distressed debt investments.
Oil prices can stay at current levels, and investors should not only be fine, but should be able to convert debt into equity of energy companies, he added.
"You would love that, because ultimately oil will go back up," he said.
Buying the equity of smaller oil companies is a big bet, he said, while owning obligations assures investors they either get their debt investment back or the opportunity to own equity.