NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oil prices were shooting higher on Wednesday, up 5% to $55.95 per barrel about an hour before the close. The commodity has now rallied almost 25% in the past month alone.

Over the long term, there's still room to the upside, according to Sean Ruhmann, director of Real Assets for NEPC. He estimates that oil prices can rebound back to the $70 to $75 range in the longer term. 

There will be volatility in the near term and headed into 2016, he reasoned. But by sometime next year, there should be a significant rebound in crude prices. 

While the energy and commodities market can be volatile and the moves (up and down) can be overreactions, the natural order of supply and demand should push prices steadily higher. 

If that's not the case and prices don't rally, then it could create a "fair amount of distress" in the energy space, particularly for E&P and services companies, Ruhmann said. 

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Distress drives M&A activity and it wouldn't be surprising to see more companies looking to make a deal, following Royal Dutch Shell's (RDS.A) recent bid to acquire BG Group. 


United States Oil ETF USO data by YCharts

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Most CEOs won't want to have a "knee-jerk reaction" and look to sell their company to the highest bidder simply because oil prices have been cut in half over the past nine months, Ruhmann reasoned. 

However, if oil prices do stay lower for longer, then some companies may ultimately not have a choice in their M&A destiny. 

Over the longer term, certain industries still look attractive, such as select E&P and MLP companies, Ruhmann added. Long/short commodity and long/short equity funds will also likely do well in the short term, due to the heighten volatility, he concluded.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor.