The 1973 oil crisis came to its peak on October 17, 1973 when all members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC, consisting of the Arab members of OPEC plus Egypt and Syria ) announced, as a result of the ongoing Yom Kippur War, that they would no longer ship petroleum to nations that had supported Israel in its conflict with Syria and Egypt. This impacted the United States, its allies in Western Europe and Japan.

At the same time OPEC members agreed to use their leverage over the world price -setting mechanism for oil in order to raise world oil prices, after attempts at negotiation with the ‘Seven Sisters’ earlier failed miserably. Due to the heavy dependence of the industrialized world on crude oil, and the predominant role of OPEC as a global supplier, these price increases were dramatically inflationary to the economies of the targeted countries, whilst at the same time suppressive of their economic activity. The targeted countries responded with a wide variety of new and mostly permanent initiatives to contain their further dependency.

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As a direct result of the 1973 oil crisis the International Energy Agency (IEA) was founded by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The IEA stated that all industrialised nations were required to keep compulsory emergency oil stocks. The IEA is responsible for coordinating the emergency oil stockholding obligations of its members as well as coordinating actions in the case of emergency supply in crisis situations. The IEA requires its members a minimum stockholding obligation equivalent to 90 days of net oil imports in the previous calendar year.

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