There are two divergent views of what is happening to the oil price within the industry and among serious investors. 2016 may help us to see which is correct.
The first view is that the price is inherently cyclical. What has come down must go back up again and the deeper the trough the higher the next mountain.
The alternative analysis is that the shift we have seen over the past three years is the beginning of a long-term structural shift which will see energy prices materially lower in real terms in the next half century than in the last. Those who take this view believe, to put it very simply, that the likely growth in supply is stronger than the growth in demand.