Opec’s secretary-general Abdalla Salem El-Badri said the cartel’s spare capacity is now above 3 million barrels-a-day after a raft of new oil projects came onstream.

“There is clearly no shortage of oil in the market,” said El-Badri.

“The organisation stands ready to act if the market shows a need for any further measures,” he added.

West Texas Intermediate crude hit a new record of $123.93 in early trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) on 8 May, but prices fell back almost $2 following the Opec statement later in the day.

El-Badri blamed much of the rise in oil prices on financial market developments and the increased flow of speculative funds into oil futures.

“The turmoil in some global equity markets and the considerable depreciation in the US dollar have encouraged investors to seek better returns in commodities, particularly in the crude oil futures market,” said El-Badri in the statement.

“This has driven prices higher.”