The members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have made “massive investments” to ensure the world has sufficient spare oil capacity in case of a crisis, a senior OPEC official said yesterday.

“OPEC’s ability to respond to unforeseen events and, whenever necessary, to increase production, depends on massive investments in spare capacity,” OPEC (UAE) Governor Ali Obaid Al-Yabhouni said.

According to a recent research report by Morgan Stanley, Oil prices will rise, as spare production capacity will start dropping towards the end of 2012.

Spare capacity passed its peak this year and may decline to 4.1 million barrels a day by the end of 2011 from 5.9 million barrels today, and could drop to 2.5 million barrels a day by 2012-end, the report said.

Al-Yabhouni was speaking at the sidelines of unveiling of the country’s plan to commemorate the OPEC’s 50th anniversary at a forum on December 5.

“Oilfields and oil facilities kept unused in case of an emergency — this is a unique and free service that OPEC members extend to the world community,” he said.

The UAE Energy Minister Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli will present the keynote speech at the OPEC50: Abu Dhabi Energy Forum at the Higher Colleges of Technology Abu Dhabi Men’s College early next month, where he will be joined by a senior delegation of UAE and ADNOC officials.

Maersk Oil, Senergy and Shell are among the knowledge event’s international industry partners.

They will exchange views on the outlook for energy with their counterparts from the national oil company, including ADNATCO, Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Limited, Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports Operating Company and Abu Dhabi National Chemicals Company.