The price of oil will likely increase to some $45 per barrel within the next year and a half, former US Assistant Secretary of Energy Chuck McConnell told Sputnik.

“I think that we, over the next six months, may find it very difficult to get out of a $30 to $35 a barrel atmosphere…But within 12 to 18 months I believe a more market-driven realistic price is very likely to be something in the mid-40s,” McConnell said.

Over February, oil prices rebounded from the historic low of under $28 per barrel seen in late January. The Brent crude benchmark has fluctuated between $30 and $35 per barrel since early January, rising above the $35-per-barrel mark in late February.

On Tuesday, oil prices peaked at some of the highest values since early January, with Brent crude rallying to nearly $37 per barrel in late afternoon before falling slightly to around $36.70 on Wednesday morning. The North American WTI crude, driven by news of falling US oil output, rallied over 1.5 percent on Tuesday before falling from around $34.40 per barrel to around $34 per barrel by Wednesday morning.

Brent crude prices plunged from $115 per barrel to $48.5 per barrel between June 2014 and January 2015, causing significant financial problems for many oil-exporting countries.