Security of supply and retail competition in the European gas market: Some model-based insights
In this paper, we analyze the impact of uncertain disruptions in gas supply upon gas retailer contracting behavior and consequent price and welfare implications in a gas market characterized by long-term gas contracts using a static Cournot model. In order to most realistically describe the economical situation, our representation divides the market into two stages: the upstream market that links, by means of long-term contracts, producers in exporting countries (Russia, Algeria, etc.) to local retailers who bring gas to the consuming countries to satisfy local demands in the downstream market. Disruption costs are modeled using short-run demand functions. First we mathematically develop a general model and write the associated KKT conditions, then we propose some case studies, under iso-elasticity assumptions, for the long- short-run inverse-demand curves in order to predict qualitatively and quantitatively the impacts of supply disruptions on Western European gas trade. In the second part, we study in detail the German gas market of the 1980s to explain the supply choices of the German retailer, and we derive interesting conclusions and insights concerning the amounts and prices of natural gas brought to the market. The last part of the paper is dedicated to a study of the Bulgarian gas market, which is greatly dependent on the Russian gas supplies and hence very sensitive to interruption risks. Some interesting conclusions are derived concerning the necessity to economically regulate the market, by means of gas amounts control, if the disruption probability is high enough.
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