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Facilitating Low-Carbon Investments: Lessons from Natural Gas

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  • Anne Neumann
  • Karsten Neuhoff

Abstract

Decarbonisation of energy and transport infrastructure requires significant private sector investments. The natural gas industry has demonstrated such large scale private sector infrastructure investment over the last decades, typically using long-term contractual arrangements. Are therefore institutional frameworks necessary that facilitate long-term contracting or provide regulation reassuring about future resource streams associated with low-carbon infrastructure - or do factors idiosyncratic to natural gas explain the prevalence of long-term contracts in natural gas infrastructure investment? We identify four reasons for the use of long-term contracting arrangements. The transformation of the natural gas industry and regulatory structure has gradually reduced the rational for three of these reasons, suggesting that remaining rational, securing of revenue streams to finance investments has become the main motivation for the use of long-term contracts. This rational is not idiosyncratic to the natural gas industry, and thus suggests that long-term contracting can also play a significant role in facilitating low-carbon infrastructure investment. We furthermore discuss the role of institutional frameworks necessary for long-term contracting, and identify the significant role governments have been playing in sharing the counterparty risk inherent in long-term contracts.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Neumann & Karsten Neuhoff, 2011. "Facilitating Low-Carbon Investments: Lessons from Natural Gas," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1154, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1154
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.379392.de/dp1154.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christian Hirschhausen & Anne Neumann, 2008. "Long-Term Contracts and Asset Specificity Revisited: An Empirical Analysis of Producer–Importer Relations in the Natural Gas Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 32(2), pages 131-143, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Dagobert L. Brito & Peter R. Hartley, 2007. "Expectations and the Evolving World Gas Market," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-24.
    4. Ruester, Sophia & Neumann, Anne, 2009. "Linking alternative theories of the firm – a first empirical application to the liquefied natural gas industry," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 47-64, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investment; low-carbon economy; natural gas;

    JEL classification:

    • L78 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Government Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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