(Reuters) - OPEC President Edmund Daukoru arrived in Iran on Thursday to discuss how the cartel should deal with high prices and how to solve a thorny dispute between Iran and Kuwait over the OPEC secretary-generalship.
Oil traders have worried that Iran could cut crude shipments to world markets if a tough U.N. resolution is passed against its nuclear work or if Israel expands its Lebanese offensive to Iran's close ally, Syria.
Daukoru, Nigeria's minister of state for petroleum, reiterated his view that oil prices had been spurred to record levels by refining shortages and political tensions rather than a lack of crude supply.
"It is not the fault of OPEC. We have spare capacity and the market is well supplied," he told reporters at his Tehran hotel.
Iran, the second biggest producer in the cartel, is the third leg of a tour of OPEC producers that has already taken Daukoru to Libya and kingpin Saudi Arabia.
Daukoru has said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has spare capacity of more than two million barrels per day available if required. Saudi Arabia
is the largest producer in OPEC and holds the bulk of this spare capacity.
Daukoru has called the latest spike in oil prices to near $80 a barrel "very uncomfortable" and has argued such levels hurt the world economy.
The OPEC chief wants to resolve a row between Iran and Kuwait over which country's candidate should be appointed secretary-general, the administrative head who represents the organization and helps coordinate policy talks among members.
OPEC has been unable to reach unanimous agreement on the secretary-general post since December 2003, when the term of Venezuela's Alvaro Silva ended.
Acting secretary-generals have served since then, with Nigeria's Mohammed Barkindo now in the post.
The selection process often exposes political divisions between core Gulf members.