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Oil Price Indexing Of Natural Gas Prices: An Economic Analysis

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  • Bartholomae, Florian W.
  • Morasch, Karl

Abstract

Oil price indexing is a peculiar feature of the natural gas markets in Germany and other European countries. It is closely linked to the existence of local monopolies (at least de facto) and of the so called "take-or-pay" (TOP) contracts. After discussing the relation between these features and the motivations for oil price indexing, we formally analyze this strategy in a differentiated good oligoply with a monopolistic supplier of natural gas and competing oil distributors. Starting with a symmetric setting, we first point out how oil price indexing works as a collusive device. In a second step we account for the likely asymmetries between oil and gas distributors. We show that the result obtained under symmetry is not robust and we discuss how the impact of oil price indexing on prices, profits and welfare depends on the form and extent of the asymmetries. -- Die Ölpreisbindung des Erdgaspreises ist ein hervorstechendes Merkmal des Gasmarktes in Deutschland und anderen europäischen Ländern. Diese Besonderheit ist eng verknüpft mit der Existenz lokaler Monopole (trotz Liberalisierung bestehen diese bislang zumindest in Deutschland de facto weiterhin) und sogenannter "take-or-pay" Verträge (TOP contracts), d. h. fixer Abnahmeverpflichtungen zu einem an die Entwicklung des Ölpreises gekoppelten Abnahmepreises. Nach einer Diskussion der Beziehung zwischen diesen drei Besonderheiten des Erdgasmarktes und der möglichen Gründe für die Ölpreisbindung analysieren wir diese Strategie in einem Oligopolmodell mit differenzierten Produkten mit einem monopolistischen Erdgasanbieter und einem oder mehreren konkurrierenden Ölhändlern. Zunächst zeigen wir im Rahmen einer symmetrischen Spezifikation auf, wie die Ölpreisbindung die Kollusion zwischen Erdgas? und Ölanbietern ermöglicht. Anschließend berücksichtigen wir mögliche Asymmetrien zwischen den beiden Energieformen. Dabei zeigt sich, dass das Ergebnis bei Symmetrie nicht robust ist und wir diskutieren im Detail wie die Auswirkung der Ölpreisbindung auf Preise, Gewinne und Wohlfahrt von der Art und vom Ausmaß der Asymmetrien abhängt.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universität der Bundeswehr München, Economic Research Group in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 2006,4.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ubwwpe:20064

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Related research

Keywords: Natural gas market; Oligopoly; oil price indexing; Take-or-pay contracts;

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Cited by:
  1. Sell, Friedrich L., 2007. "More about economic and non-economic determinants of (mutual) trust and trustworthiness," Working Papers in Economics, Universität der Bundeswehr München, Economic Research Group 2007,2, Universität der Bundeswehr München, Economic Research Group.

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