Energy security refers to the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.
The need to increase energy security – the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price – was the main objective underpinning the establishment of the IEA in 1974. With particular emphasis on oil security, the IEA was created to establish effective mechanisms for the implementation of policies across a broad spectrum of energy issues: mechanisms that were workable and reliable, and could be implemented on a co-operative basis.
Oil security remains a cornerstone of the IEA, with each member required to hold oil stocks equivalent to at least 90 days of net imports and to maintain emergency measures for responding collectively to disruptions in oil supply of a magnitude likely to cause economic harm to its members. At the same time, the IEA recognizes the broader needs of ensuring energy security and is progressively taking a more comprehensive approach to the security of supplies, including natural gas supplies and power generation.
Energy security has many aspects: long-term energy security is mainly linked to timely investments to supply energy in line with economic developments and environmental needs. On the other hand, short-term energy security focuses on the ability of the energy system to react promptly to sudden changes in the supply-demand balance.
The IEA works towards improving energy security by promoting diversity, efficiency and flexibility within the energy sectors of the IEA member countries; remaining prepared collectively to respond to energy emergencies; and expanding international co-operation with all players in the global energy markets.
For more information on oil and gas emergency policies in individual IEA member countries, click here.