Changes in the international balance of power, transformations in global energy markets, and the proliferation of new energy organizations have left the IEA facing a potential crisis. Traditionally scholars assume that international organizations, such as the IEA, have little autonomy to respond to changes in the international environment. While empirical studies have shown that this does not always match reality, almost no scholarship has focussed on these issues in the domain of energy. In particular, on the strategic role that international organizations can play in their own right and the impact this could have on the existing international energy architecture. This paper seeks to address this gap by focussing on the behaviour of the IEA since 2015 when it commenced a modernisation programme. Drawing on interviews with energy officials, it identifies the key pressures shaping the IEA's environment, the IEA's strategies in response, and the extent to which the IEA's has had autonomy from member states to pursue its strategies. The empirical analysis highlights that policymakers should pay greater attention to the strategic actions of organizations like the IEA and the way they can shape the contours of the energy domain.