The New Global Oil Market: Understanding Energy Issues in the World Economy

By Siamack Shojai | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
The International Energy Agency Siamack Shojai

On November 15, 1974, in response to the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OAPEC) oil embargo against the United States and the Netherlands, the Council of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development decided to establish the International Energy Agency (IEA) under the auspices of OECD. In Chapter 10, Lowell S. Feld provides a thorough discussion of the oil crisis of 1973. Here, it suffices to say that the Arab oil embargo was in response to the U.S. support of Israel in the Arab-Israeli War of October 1973. Initially, the embargo did not cause a major increase in the price of oil. In addition, the embargo was not applied uniformly to all the European Community (EC) countries. For example, France and the United Kingdom were exempt but West Germany, Italy, and others were subject to a gradual oil shipment reduction. Thus, the response and attitude of the OECD countries was in disarray and there seemed to be no consensus as how to deal with the embargo ( Smith 1988). However, in December 1973 oil prices jumped over $12/barrel and it became obvious that the OECD countries had to come to a consensus if they wished a successful response to the crisis.

The European Community had already taken oil stockpiling measures since the late 1960s. In 1972, pursuant to creating a Community Energy Policy, directives had been issued to raise the emergency oil stocks from an average of 65 days to 90 days of consumption. At this time, the energy policy of the EC consisted of securing oil supplies at economically acceptable prices. The response of the EC members to the Arab-Israeli War was to distance themselves from the conflict. The NATO members refused to cooperate with the United States in adopting a common NATO policy toward the crisis. Meanwhile, France, Italy, and West Germany were engaged in unilateral negotiations with the oil producing countries in an attempt to secure their own oil supplies. To

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