Energy leaders, experts discuss future of oil at CeraWeek in downtown Houston

CeraWeek is one of the top gatherings of energy industry leaders, experts and governmental officials.

The minister of petroleum and mineral resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia predicted oil prices would go back up.

“I can say this, it's gonna end. When? I don't know.  But it will end," Ali Al-Nnaimi said.

He said if he knew when, then he would go to Las Vegas.  But one prediction was much more serious.

He said not everyone will survive.  He told the crowd, "Inefficient producers will have to get out. This is tough to say.  But that's a fact. I have said this before. We can coexist with $20 a barrel, which it's not there.  We don't want it to be there. But if we have to coexist, we will."

The energy industry was on everyone's mind there. CNBC broadcast the event from the Hilton Americas.  The big question: When will the price per barrel of oil go back up and how fast?

Ryan Lance, the chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, said, “I think it's hard to predict where it's going to go. I think as companies we have to plan for the worse case.  And we have to think about what it means if prices stay a little bit lower for longer."

The group described the gathering, saying, “CERAWeek is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the technology, financial, and industrial communities - and energy technology innovators. This year marks the 35th anniversary of this influential event, ranked among the top five "corporate leader" conferences in the world. Midst the turbulence and uncertainty in energy markets this year, IHS CERAWeek 2016 will provide new insights and critically important dialogue - and a very cost efficient way to engage on the most urgent questions with decision-makers from around the world.”