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Understanding the Lack of Competition in Natural Gas Markets: The Impact of Storage Ownership and Upstream Competition

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  • Michal Mravec
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    Abstract

    Motivated by the failure of competition to emerge after the natural gas market in the Czech Republic was liberalized, I explore the impact of natural gas storage ownership and upstream competition on the downstream level. I extend standard Cournot models to understand current and likely future developments, paying particular attention to the impact of market liberalization on a country characterized by a lack of domestic production, limited foreign upstream competition, and highly concentrated (and bundled) control over an essential input in the production of the final product: gas storage. I show that the upstream producer may practice his market power to capture some of the benefits of liberalization and increase the wholesale price, which hinders the desired decline of the end-user price in the long run. This pricing change in turn makes the entry of new players in the transition period more difficult. I furthermore analyze three prominent storage structure scenarios and conclude that higher consumer welfare can be reached only in the case of regulated storage access.

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    Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp342.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp342

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    Related research

    Keywords: Natural gas; liberalization; deregulation; successive oligopoly; monopoly; Czech Republic; gas storage.;

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    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
    2. Holz, Franziska & von Hirschhausen, Christian & Kemfert, Claudia, 2008. "A strategic model of European gas supply (GASMOD)," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 766-788, May.
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    4. Nese, Gjermund & Straume, Odd Rune, 2004. "Industry concentration and strategic trade policy in successive oligopoly," Working Papers in Economics 10/04, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
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    7. AfDB AfDB, . "AfDB Group Annual Report 2004," Annual Report, African Development Bank, number 60 edited by Koua Louis Kouakou, 6.
    8. Greenhut, M L & Ohta, H, 1979. "Vertical Integration of Successive Oligopolists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 137-41, March.
    9. Silvester van Koten, 2006. "Bidding Behavior when One Bidder and the Auctioneer Are Vertically Integrated Implications for the Partial Deregulation of EU Electricity Markets," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp313, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
    10. Rolf Golombek & Eystein Gjelsvik & Knut Einar Rosendahl, 1995. "Effects of Liberalizing the Natural Gas Markets in Western Europe," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 85-112.
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