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Take-or-pay contract robustness: A three step story told by the Brazil-Bolivia gas case?

  • Glachant, Jean-Michel
  • Hallack, Michelle

Neo-institutional economics (NEI) has long shown that take-or-pay (ToP) long-term contracts provide a robust framework for safeguarding the interests of both upstream and downstream parties in the gas industry. The case of gas trade between Brazil and Bolivia presents an opportunity to re-examine empirically and to review the robust nature of the ToP framework over time. This case reveals that the positions of the contractors actually change giving rise to a veritable lifecycle of the contractual arrangement. Such a contract can be seen to span three successive phases. The first phase of the contract cycle begins when it is signed; allowing the investments to begin. The second phase starts when investments have been completed and the actual trade in gas begins. The third phase of the contract cycle comes when the increasing flow of gas comes close to saturating capacity and the volume levels for downstream market volume have been reached. These three contract phases are thus distinguished by how robust the alignment of the parties' interests is. The added value of the paper is then both empirical and analytical: the case study provides a brand new lifecycle analysis of the performance of ToP long-term contracting into an NEI framework.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 651-657

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:2:p:651-657
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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  1. Crocker, Keith J & Masten, Scott E, 1991. "Pretia ex Machina? Prices and Process in Long-Term Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 69-99, April.
  2. Hubbard, R Glenn & Weiner, Robert J, 1991. "Efficient Contracting and Market Power: Evidence from the U.S. Natural Gas Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 25-67, April.
  3. Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-40, September.
  4. Brousseau, Eric & Glachant, Jean-Michel, 2002. "The Economics of Contracts and the Renewal of Economics," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12332, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  6. Mulherin, J Harold, 1986. "Complexity in Long-term Contracts: An Analysis of Natural Gas Contractual Provisions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 105-17, Spring.
  7. Hubbard, R Glenn & Weiner, Robert J, 1986. "Regulation and Long-term Contracting in U.S. Natural Gas Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(1), pages 71-79, September.
  8. Keith J. Crocker & Scott E. Masten, 1988. "Mitigating Contractual Hazards: Unilateral Options and Contract Length," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 327-343, Autumn.
  9. Masten, Scott E & Crocker, Keith J, 1985. "Efficient Adaptation in Long-term Contracts: Take-or-Pay Provisions for Natural Gas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1083-93, December.
  10. Creti, Anna & Villeneuve, Bertrand, 2004. "Long-term contracts and take-or-pay clauses in natural gas Markets," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5372, Paris Dauphine University.
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