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The Merits of Dual Pricing of Russian Natural Gas

  • David G. Tarr
  • Peter D. Thomson

Our analysis reveals that, from Russia's perspective, there is no economic rationale to unify the price of natural gas it sells domestically and in Europe. We argue that pipelines allow Gazprom to segment the Russian market from the European (including Turkey) market and that Russia has market power in the European market. If Russia were to fail to exploit this market power in its European market, by selling its natural gas to Europe at only full long-run marginal cost plus transportation costs, Russia would lose between $5 billion and $7.5 billion per year (almost two per cent of its GDP). If, instead, Russia were to raise its domestic prices to the prices it charges in Europe, Russian industry would incur very large investment adjustment and unemployment costs in the short run - adjustment costs that cannot be justified on the basis of comparative advantage. We estimate that the efficient world price would be achieved if Gazprom were to employ its optimal 'two-part tariff'. The optimal two-part tariff would double Gazprom's annual profits in Europe, but it involves significant long-term risks for Gazprom of lost market share. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The World Economy.

Volume (Year): 27 (2004)
Issue (Month): 8 (08)
Pages: 1173-1194

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:27:y:2004:i:8:p:1173-1194
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