The US oil price has dropped below $50 a barrel for the first time since April 2009.
The price of Brent crude also fell on January 5, dipping more than 6% to trade at below $53 a barrel.
The price of both Brent crude and US oil, known as West Texas Intermediate crude, have now lost more than half of their value since mid-2014.
US oil production has soared recently, as fracking – or the process of extracting oil from shale rock by injecting fluids into the ground – has revolutionized oil production in the country, transforming states such as North Dakota and Pennsylvania in the process.
However, the increase in production has come just as economies across the world – from Europe to China – have slowed their once voracious demand for oil.
This, combined with OPEC’s decision to continue extracting oil at its current pace, has left many investors worried.
That has in turn led shares of many of the world’s leading energy firms, from BP to Exxon Mobil, to decline sharply over the past few months.
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