Korea Set to Become 26th Member of the International Energy Agency

Korea has completed all steps required to become a full member of the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Robert Priddle, the agency's Executive Director, announced that Korea had deposited its instrument of accession with the Belgian government, the last step toward becoming the IEA's twenty-sixth member. Korea's membership will begin formally March 28.

"We heartily welcome Korea into the IEA," Priddle said. "The country's very robust economy and its key strategic position in East Asia mean that its presence among us will greatly enhance energy security in its region and throughout the world."

The IEA was founded in 1974 in the wake of the first oil shock. It is an independent organisation of oil-consuming nations within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Its core mission was and is to meet energy supply disruptions. Over the years, the Agency has extended its tasks to include extensive statistics gathering, analysis and projection of energy market trends, the promotion of energy efficiency and involvement in energy-related environment issues, especially climate destabilisation.

Korea formally applied for accession in April of 2001. Since then, it has enjoyed the status of a "de facto member country." In order to meet a central requirement of full membership in the Agency, the Seoul government has set aside emergency oil stocks equal to 90 days of oil imports. It has also accepted the obligation to implement demand-restraint and allocation measures in case of emergency.

The Czech Republic joined the IEA on 22 February last year. Slovakia and Poland are currently candidates for full membership.