Oil refinery

Oil prices are likely to remain at their current low levels in 2016, according to the boss of French energy giant, Total.

Brent crude is currently trading at less than $43 per barrel, with US light crude under the $40 mark. Oil prices have plummeted to less than half their value since last summer.

Total boss Patrick Pouyanne has said he "doesn't anticipate a recovery in 2016" and actually predicts that supply will grow faster than demand next year. He also believes the current low prices will reduce production in the US decline.

"Non-Opec supply will contract... by mid-2016 we should see contraction in US production," Mr Pouyanne said.

The sharp fall in oil prices has been attributed to the vast oversupply, with demand nowhere near the level needed to consume the amount of oil being produced. Demand has also falling due to slowing economic growth in China and Europe.

The latest fall in prices came after Opec (Organization [sic] of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), which is led by Saudi Arabia, said it would not be reducing production. The organisation typically adjusts production to maintain or boost prices. Critics have accused the Saudi government of trying to putting US shale firms out of business.

At its meeting last week, Opec decided to keep production at 31.5 million barrels of oil per year. However, that figure could increase with Iran set to increase production from three million barrels per year to five million by the end of the decade.