Korea became the 26th member of the International Energy Agency on April 20, the second new member this year after the Czech Republic joined in February.
“We heartily welcome the Koreans,” said IEA Executive Director Robert Priddle. “Their membership will strengthen the Agency presence and influence in the Pacific region.”
Priddle also emphasised the leading role that Korea plays in the energy markets, as the world’s sixth largest consumer and third largest importer of oil, as well as the second largest importer of coal and liquid natural gas. It has built up emergency oil stocks equivalent to more than 90 days of oil imports, fulfilling a key requirement for all IEA members, and is in the process of liberalising and restructuring its very large energy sector.
“I am impressed by the strong development of Korea’s energy policies and programmes,” Priddle said. “I welcome their contribution to our collective energy security.” Korea, which joined the OECD in 1996, began talks on IEA membership in 1993.
©OECD Observer No 226/227, Summer 2001