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Gas models and three difficult objectives

  • SMEERS, Yves

    (Université catholique de Louvain (UCL). Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

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    Competition, security of supply and sustainability are at the core of EU energy policy. The Commission argues that making the European gas market more competitive (completing the internal gas market) will be instrumental in the pursuit of these objectives. We examine the question through the eyes of existing models of the European gas market. Can model tell us anything on this problem? Do they confirm or infirm the analysis of the Commission appearing in fundamental documents such the Green Paper, the Sector Inquiry or the new legislation package? We argue that results of existing models contradict a fundamental finding (paragraph 77) of the Sector Inquiry. We further elaborate on the basis of the economic assumption underlying the models, that changing the assumptions implicitly contained in paragraph 77 cast doubts on a large part of the reasoning justifying the completion of the internal gas market. We also explain that models could help arriving at a better definition of the relevant market, which is so important in the reasoning of the Commission. Last we also find model results that question the effectiveness of ownership unbundling. As to security of supply, we explain that models can also contribute to assess the value of additional infrastructure in the context of security of supply, but this potential seems largely untapped. Last we note that sustainability has not yet penetrated models of gas markets. We conclude by suggesting other area of immediate concern, possibly of higher technical difficulty, that modellers could address in future research.

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    Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2008009.

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    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2008009
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