LONDON - OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said on Thursday that oil producers are very concerned about spare output capacity amid a reduction in energy-industry investment, with crude prices rising recently on fears of a drop in Iranian supply.
Oil prices have rallied this year on expectations that U.S. sanctions on Iran will strain supplies by lowering shipments from OPEC's third-largest oil producer. Brent crude last week reached $86.74, the highest since 2014.
"We are very concerned," Barkindo said in response to a question about spare capacity, citing a continued decline in oil industry investment resulting from an earlier market downturn.
Barkindo also said there are many non-fundamental factors influencing the oil market that are beyond oil producers' control.
Barkindo, speaking at the Oil & Money conference in London, said earlier that he wanted to ensure there was no shortage of crude in the market, with OPEC, Russia and other allied producers having agreed in June to boost production.
Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is the only oil producer with significant spare capacity on hand to supply the market if needed.
The kingdom will invest $20 billion in the next few years to maintain and possibly expand its spare oil production capacity, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said this month.
(Reporting by Alex Lawler; Writing by Dale Hudson) ((email@example.com))