Hess CEO makes a case for $60 oil by end of 2016

Oil prices are "definitely in a lower-for-longer environment," but crude will still nearly double from current levels by late 2016, the CEO of Hess Corporation says.

"By the end of next year, I think the price will start moving up as supply growth starts to retard [and] demand goes up," John Hess told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday. "All of a sudden the market is going to draw on inventories, and you're probably going to be looking at least at $60 by the end of next year."

U.S. oil prices, as measured by West Texas Intermediate crude, were flat Friday after losing 1.6 percent Thursday to settle at $34.95 per barrel. That's their lowest levels since February 2009. Since a peak in June 2014, prices have cratered about 65 percent.

Goldman Sachs is standing by its prediction that crude will eventually bottom at $20 per barrel — a level bank researchers said would force companies to finally make the deep production cuts necessary for the market to start recovering.

Read MoreGoldman Sachs expects oil prices to fall further

Like Goldman, Hess blamed OPEC's refusal at its recent meeting to cut production as a major headwind for the market.

Hess and Goldman also pointed to supply concerns about Iran's eventual re-entry into the oil market as part of a deal to limit its nuclear development program

Putting the oil drop in perspective, WTI hit an all-time high of just over $145 per barrel in July 2008, before plummeting in the wake of the financial crisis. Prices fought their way higher to break above $100 in February 2011 and largely remained above $75 until late 2014.

Hess sees the expected lifting of the 40-year U.S. ban on oil exports as the "bright spot" for the industry. The repeal of the ban is included in the spending and tax deal that's moving through the House and Senate to avoid a government shutdown.

"It's going to be boost economic growth. It's going to increase investment in energy — instead of investing in other countries you're going to have more of an incentive to put the dollars here," Hess said. "It's going to create jobs as oil prices get better."

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He also predicted: "It's going to stabilize markets." The rationale here is the U.S. would be able to provide supply in the global market in case of any disruptions due to geopolitical factors.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from the oil producing state of North Dakota, said that ending the export ban would "equalize the market," adding the negative effects have been "greatly exaggerated."

"We produce the best crude oil in the world. But we weren't getting price for it ... because we don't have a market; we can't find our market," she said. "Even before we saw this very deep price decline, this always concerned me because I believe in free trade."

North Dakota has been at the center of the U.S. oil production boom. Fracking has enabled companies to pull oil out of the Bakken shale rock formation underlying parts of the state, in addition to parts of Montana and across the border in Canada.

Heitkamp said that allowing U.S. oil exports would "keep the development of this resource in this country on the books in many boardrooms across the country."