Futures Now

Crude price spike is 'head fake' — except when it comes to heating oil, says energy expert Tom Kloza

Oil prices to drop by Oscar season, OPIS' Tom Kloza warns

Call it a tale of two commodities.

Energy expert Tom Kloza, who correctly called 2015's oil collapse, is arguing crude's comeback is on borrowed time, while heating oil could be about to rip even higher.

Kloza, who runs the Oil Price Information Service, refers to the latest WTI and Brent price spikes as a "head fake."

"This is not going to be a Barry Bonds year with $70-plus per barrel for any stretch of time," the firm's global head of energy analysis said recently on CNBC's "Futures Now."

Kloza's comments came as both WTI and Brent prices are above $60 a barrel. Over the past six months, WTI has soared by 36 percent while Brent has surged by 41 percent.

"These [prices] are probably $5 to $10 a barrel higher than what you'll see for the average of the year — maybe more. And, I would suspect we'd see prices drop by the time the Oscars replace the Golden Globes," he said, referring to March.

According to Kloza, the Street is seeing billions of dollars of new money coming into passive and active investments mostly in oil positions right now. He says this type of activity typically happens in the beginning of January.

Plus, he contends that U.S. crude oil inventories always drop in the final few weeks of a year, noting that late 2017 saw its highest U.S. refinery runs by far. Kloza says oil companies have been holding off importing crude as part of tax avoidance strategies.

But all that is expected to change.

"We probably have about $10 downside at least in Brent, and maybe a little bit less than that in WTI," he said.

Ultimately, he predicts both WTI and Brent prices will average in the $50 range this year with the biggest drop likely happening toward spring — unless there's an event such as an Iranian revolution or intensifying turmoil in Venezuela.

Rising heating bills?

But there is one area of the energy space that may not get cheaper anytime soon.

Kloza predicts heating oil will rise sharply mostly due to the cold snap gripping much of the nation.

"Consumers would get their highest heating oil bills since the polar vortex winter of 2013-2014," he warned in a special note to CNBC.

With wholesale heating oil prices around $2 a gallon, Kloza predicts they could push to the $3 a gallon level — about a 40 percent increase. Prices are already up 9 percent in just the past four weeks.

"Some homeowners commonly use 800-1000 gallons in a cold winter. That translates into a seasonal bill of say $2400-$3000 in some areas [like New England] where recent mild winters probably cost only $1800-$2400," Kloza wrote.