Export Restraints on Russian Natural Gas and Raw Timber: What are the Economic Impacts?
The paper explains that the Russian gas giant, Gazprom, has failed to invest adequately, resulting in very little development of new gas supplies in Russia. The result has been progressively increasing use by Gazprom of central Asian gas supplies, at progressively higher prices for Russia. The increased prices of gas for Russian consumers have shown that it is crucial for Russian welfare to allow new entrants, and to introduce competition in the Russian domestic market. Competition among multiple gas suppliers from Russia, however, would erode or eliminate the monopoly profits of the Russian Federation on gas exports. Thus, with a more competitive domestic market, the Russian government would be expected to grant exclusive exporting rights to a single entity (as it presently does with Gazprom) or impose export taxes. Thus, Europe should not expect to achieve cheaper Russian gas as a result of structural reforms within the Russian gas market. More promising avenues for European energy diversification are new pipeline construction to open up new sources of supply independent of Russia (especially the Nabucco pipeline) and liquefied natural gas purchases. *
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