The IEA was founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis in order to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets.

When it was founded, the main objectives of the IEA were:

  • to maintain and improve systems for coping with oil supply disruptions
  • to promote rational energy policies in a global context through co-operative relations with non-member countries, industry and international organisations
  • to operate a permanent information system on the international oil market
  • to improve the world’s energy supply and demand structure by developing alternative energy sources and increasing the efficiency of energy use
  • to promote international collaboration on energy technology, and
  • to assist in the integration of environmental and energy policies.

While these remain key aspects of its work, the IEA has evolved and expanded over the decades. It is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative statistics and analysis. The IEA examines the full spectrum of energy issues and advocates policies that will enhance the reliability, affordability and sustainability of energy in its 29 members countries and beyond.

For more information, read History of the IEA: Volumes I, II, III, IV.

Key historical documents

40 years of International Energy Agency history is shown in this presentation: