Long-term vs. Short-term Contracts; A European perspective on natural gas
AbstractThis paper analyses the economics of long-term gas contracts under changing institutional conditions, mainly gas sector liberalisation. The paper is motivated by the increasingly tense debate in continental Europe, UK and the US on the security of long-term gas supply. We discuss the main issues regarding long-term contracts, i.e. the changing role of the flexibility clause, the effect of abandoning the destination clause, and the strategic behaviour of producers between long-term sales and spot-sales. The literature suggests consumers and producers benefit from risk hedging through long-term contracts. Furthermore long-term contracts may reduce exercise of market power. This was argued to benefit consumers at the ‘expense’ of producers’ profits. Our analysis shows if the long-run demand elasticity is significantly lower than the short-run elasticity, both strategic producers and consumers benefit from lower prices and larger market volume. Some policy implications of the findings are also discussed.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0539.
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Note: EPRG 05
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contracts; gas; market power; demand elasticity; liberalisation; Europe;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
- D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
- L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-09-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2005-09-11 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-EEC-2005-09-11 (European Economics)
- NEP-ENE-2005-09-11 (Energy Economics)
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