For the energy industry a volatile and uncomfortable year lies ahead. 2016 begins with oil prices under renewed pressure a result of OPEC's apparently open ended strategy of maximising supply. Gas and coal prices are also at multi year lows. In this Insight we consider five critical macro themes to watch over the next 12 months: China's pivotal year as the country enters a new more mature phase of growth; Geopolitical tension a volatile Middle East could lead to yet more pressure on oil prices; What could stop the commodity cycle from turning? 2016 could see OPEC members shifting focus to maintaining individual market shares; Low tide for commodity producing economies. Low prices and interest rate normalisation in the US are putting pressure on emerging market commodity producers through 2016; Corporate a year of survival. Radical action is needed to balance the books and companies will need to start adapting to sustained low commodity prices.