Fatih Birol

International Energy Agency Paris Forbes
Fatih Birol
International Energy Agency Director Fatih Birol in Washington in 2018
Birol in 2018
Executive Director of the International Energy Agency
Assumed office
1 September 2015
DeputyDave Turk (Acting)
Preceded byMaria van der Hoeven
Personal details
Born (1958-03-22) 22 March 1958 (age 62)
Ankara, Turkey
Alma materIstanbul Technical University
Vienna University of Technology

Fatih Birol (born 22 March 1958, in Ankara) is a Turkish economist and energy expert, who has been the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) since 1 September 2015. He previously served as the Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics at the IEA in Paris.[1][2]

He is responsible for the IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook publication, which is recognised as the most authoritative source for strategic analysis of global energy markets. He is founder and chair of the IEA Energy Business Council[3] which provides a forum for cooperation between the energy industry and policymakers.

Birol has been named by Forbes magazine among the most powerful people in terms of influence on the world’s energy scene.[4] He is the Chairman of the World Economic Forum (Davos) Energy Advisory Board and a member of the UN Secretary-General's 'High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All.'

He is a frequent contributor to print and electronic media and delivers numerous speeches each year at major international summits and conferences.[5]

IEA's World Energy Outlook

Birol designs and directs the IEA's annual World Energy Outlook. On 15 December 2008, George Monbiot, described Birol as one of the most powerful men on earth whose words are considered as the "petroleum gospel" by world governments. Monbiot interviewed Birol on the day the 2008 annual report was published and challenged the research conclusions regarding major changes in the global petroleum sector outlook.[6]

Birol speaking at the World Economic Forum, Davos, 2012. (c) World Economic Forum

Eurelectric Award 2013

Paul Bulteel, Eurelectric Electricity Ambassador announced at the Eurelectric Annual Convention in Bologna on 4 June 2013, that the Eurelectric Award went to Birol for "his outstanding contribution to improving understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the power sector." Buleel added that Birol in his 'unique position" raised awareness of power sector among policymakers, the financial community and other stakeholders. "Under Dr Fatih Birol's direction, the IEA's World Energy Outlook has become the most authoritative source of forward-looking energy market analysis. It has drawn attention to the huge challenges that will need to be overcome to maintain electricity supply in the decades ahead. Its finding that 2.6 trillion USD needs to be invested in the EU's power sector through to 2035 has become an iconic figure for the industry. Fatih Birol has made a unique contribution to raising awareness among policymakers, the financial community and other stakeholders of the issues the power sector has to deal with".[7]

Forbes magazine

In an article published in Forbes magazine in 2009, T. Boone Pickens, American financier and Chairman and CEO of BP Capital, selected Birol as number four of seven most influential people in the world's energy sector.[4] According to oil tycoon turned wind advocate Pickens, "When he says things like, 'the world would need to find the equivalent of four times the crude oil reserves now held by Saudi Arabia to maintain current production plus six Saudi Arabias if it is to keep up with the expected increase in demand between now and 2030,' the world sits up and takes notice."[4]

Early career

Prior to joining the IEA as Chief Economist on 1 October 1995, Dr. Birol worked at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna.

A Turkish citizen, Birol was born in Ankara in 1958. He earned a BSc degree in power engineering from the Istanbul Technical University. He received his MSc and PhD in energy economics from the Technical University of Vienna. In 2013, Birol was awarded a Doctorate of Science honoris causa by Imperial College London. He was made an honorary life member of Galatasaray Football Club in 2013.

Honours and medals

Ribbon bar Award or decoration Country Date Place Note Ref.
Medal for Outstanding Service of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey  Turkey 1 October 2005 Paris [8]
Palmes academiques Chevalier ribbon.svg Ordre des Palmes Académiques  France 1 October 2006 Paris [9]
AUT Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria - 9th Class BAR.png Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria  Austria 1 March 2007 Vienna [9]
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 3 BVK 1Kl.svg First Class Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany  Germany 19 November 2009 Berlin [9]
ITA OMRI 2001 Uff BAR.svg Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic  Italy 14 June 2012 Paris [9]
SWE Order of the Polar Star (after 1975) - Knight 1st Class BAR.png First Class Order of the Polar Star  Sweden 11 December 2013 Stockholm [9][10]
JPN Kyokujitsu-sho 1Class BAR.svg First Class Order of the Rising Sun  Japan 30 January 2014 Paris [9][11]
Melchett Medal  United Kingdom 2017 [12]


  1. ^ "IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol is named Agency's next Executive Director". International Energy Agency. 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2015-03-29.
  2. ^ "Turkish Prime Minister congratulates new IEA director". Anadolu Agency. 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2015-03-29.
  3. ^ "Energy Business Council". IEA. 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  4. ^ a b c Pickens, T. Boone (9 November 2009). "No. 4: Dr. Fatih Birol". Forbes. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  5. ^ "IEA - Chief Economist's Diary". Worldenergyoutlook.org. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  6. ^ Monbiot, George (15 December 2008). "George Monbiot meets ... Fatih Birol". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  7. ^ "EURELECTRIC Award 2013 honours IEA Chief Economist, Dr Fatih Birol". EURELECTRIC Electricity for Europe. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Dışişleri Bakanlığı Üstün Hizmet Ödülü ile Devlet Nişan ve Madalyaları" (in Turkish). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Awards of Fatih Birol". World Energy Outlook. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Fatih Birol'a İsveç'ten Kraliyet Nişanı (Turkish)". NTV. 11 December 2013. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  11. ^ "IEA Chief Economist receives Japanese Emperor's Order of the Rising Sun". International Energy Agency. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  12. ^ https://www.energyinst.org/events/melchett-cadman