Plummeting oil prices have scared investors for months, with both Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate falling below $30 (£42.49, €38.98) a barrel in 2016. As world leaders gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum, oil and falling markets are dominating the conversation.

"Here at Davos, it was going to be about the fourth industrial revolution and robots, and the markets and oil have just taken over because it's so dramatic," said Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Global Insight. "So I think this is a really historic time."

Panicky analysts have warned of oil prices at sub-$20 (or even $10), and oil firms such as Shell and BP have taken to the axe to deal with the low returns, cutting thousands of jobs. Meanwhile, the world's biggest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, recently confirmed that it is mooting an initial public offering (IPO) of national oil company Saudi Aramco.

"Well I think they're thinking about the future. I think the talk about the IPO, it's going to take a while to get there," Yergin said regarding the floatation in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "It is prompted by a sense of kind of reform, looking at what other countries have done, but it is a signal rather than them saying that there's a specific timed event."