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Market Liberalization in the European Natural Gas Market - The Importance of Capacity Constraints and Efficiency Differences

  • Steven Brakman
  • Charles van Marrewijk
  • Arjen van Witteloostuijn

In the European Union, energy markets are increasingly being liberalized. A case in point is the European natural gas industry. The general expectation is that more competition will lead to lower prices and higher volumes, and hence higher welfare. This paper indicates that this might not happen for at least two reasons. First, energy markets, including the market for natural gas, are characterized by imperfect competition and increasing costs to develop new energy sources. As a result, new entrants in the market are less efficient than incumbent firms. Second, energy markets, again including the market for natural gas, are associated with capacity constraints. Prices are determined in residual markets where the least efficient firms are active. This is likely to lead to price increases, rather than decreases.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2697.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2697
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  1. Castro-Rodriguez, Fidel & Marín Uribe, Pedro Luis & Siotis, Georges, 2001. "Capacity Choices in Liberalized Electricity Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 2998, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Robinson, Terry, 2007. "Have European gas prices converged?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 2347-2351, April.
  9. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
  10. Remme, Uwe & Blesl, Markus & Fahl, Ulrich, 2008. "Future European gas supply in the resource triangle of the Former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Northern Africa," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1622-1641, May.
  11. Lochner, Stefan & Bothe, David, 2009. "The development of natural gas supply costs to Europe, the United States and Japan in a globalizing gas market--Model-based analysis until 2030," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1518-1528, April.
  12. van Witteloostuijn, Arjen & Brakman, Steven & van Marrewijk, Charles, 2007. "Welfare distribution effect of a price reduction in the Dutch gas transport market: A scenario analysis of regulatory policy, market form and rent allocation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 6299-6308, December.
  13. Wright, Philip, 2005. "Liberalisation and the security of gas supply in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(17), pages 2272-2290, November.
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