The last time oil did this, it surged 80 percent

Crude oil could be on the verge of a big comeback.

Since surging to four-year highs in October, the commodity has plummeted 39 percent down to levels not seen since mid-2017.

The last time it saw these lows, it had a massive rally, says Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.

"It got down to the $42.53 level, or $42.50, and that was the low it saw back 18 months ago in June 2017. Now after we saw that low, crude oil rallied 80 percent," Maley said on CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Thursday. "It got right exactly to that level on Christmas Eve and has bounced almost 10 percent since then."

Crude oil now has to clear one critical level for Maley to have faith in this rebound.

"We're not out of the woods yet. We need to see more upside follow through and what we want to see is it get above $50," said Maley.

Crude oil bounced around the $50 level in November and December, forming a layer of resistance. That price had previously acted as support for the commodity.

"If we can break above that and hold, that'll show that we got a real nice double bottom, much like we got in 2016, and should give us a nice upside rally. It may not be 80 percent but it should be a good rally," said Maley.

Michael Bapis, managing directing director at Vios Advisors at Rockefeller Capital Management, also sees a rally ahead for crude oil.

"It's a supply-and-demand issue," Bapis said on "Trading Nation" on Thursday. "We saw OPEC cut production by the most in two years, and it's starting to work this month. The U.S. oil production is also much lower than people expected."

OPEC posted its biggest drop in output in December in nearly two years, according to Reuters. Production dropped by 460,000 barrels per day last month, the steepest decline since January 2017.

One name in particular stands out to Bapis as a stock that could rally off of a crude comeback: EOG Resources, a petroleum and natural gas exploration company.

"EOG, they've outperformed the commodity between 15 and 20 percent over the past 12 to 18 months and we think they'll continue to outperform," said Bapis.

While crude oil slumped 36 percent over the past six months, EOG fell by a smaller 27 percent. Its shares were up nearly 3 percent this week as of Thursday's closing.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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