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Alternative regulatory policies for dealing with the natural gas shortage


  • MacAvoy, Paul W.
  • Pindyck, Robert S.


Low wellhead ceiling prices over the past decade have led to the beginning of a shortage in natural gas production. If the demand for gas grows as expected during the 1970s, and if ceiling prices remain low as a result of restrictive regulatory policy, this shortage could grow significantly. This paper examines the effects of this and alternative regulatory policies on gas reserves, production supply, production demand, and prices over the remainder of this decade. An econometric model is developed to explain the gas discovery process, reserve accumulation, production out of reserves, pipeline price markup and wholesale demand for production on a disaggregated basis. By simulating this model under alternative policy assumptions, we find that the gas shortage can be ameliorated (and after four or five years, eliminated) through phased deregulation of wellhead sales, along the lines proposed in President Nixon's April 1973 Energy Message. But the shortage is not reduced by changes in regulatory rulings on prices, even when the rulings allow price increases that are the maximum likely to be acceptable to the Courts. These results are rather insensitive to alternative forecasts of such exogenous variables as GNP growth, population growth, and changes in the prices of alternate fuels.
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  • MacAvoy, Paul W. & Pindyck, Robert S., 1973. "Alternative regulatory policies for dealing with the natural gas shortage," Working papers 659-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:1869

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    1. Westfield, Fred M, 1971. "Methodology of Evaluating Economic Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 211-217, May.
    2. MacAvoy, Paul W, 1971. "The Regulation-Induced Shortage of Natural Gas," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 167-199, April.
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    4. Boyce, John R. & Nøstbakken, Linda, 2011. "Exploration and development of U.S. oil and gas fields, 1955-2002," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 891-908, June.
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    6. Lucas W. Davis & Lutz Kilian, 2011. "The Allocative Cost of Price Ceilings in the U.S. Residential Market for Natural Gas," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 212-241.
    7. Davis, Lucas W & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "The Allocative Cost of Price Ceilings: Lessons to be Learned from the US Residential Market for Natural Gas," CEPR Discussion Papers 6142, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    9. Doucet, J. & Littlechild, S., 2006. "Negotiated Settlements: The development of economic and legal thinking," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0622, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    10. Mack Ott & John A. Tatom, 1982. "Are There Adverse Inflation Effects Associated With Natural Gas Decontrol?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 1(1), pages 27-46, October.
    11. Chaton, Corinne & Creti, Anna & Villeneuve, Bertrand, 2008. "Some economics of seasonal gas storage," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 4235-4246, November.
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    16. Rao, Raghavendra D., 2000. "An integrated modelling framework for exploration and extraction of petroleum resources," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 133-143, September.
    17. Forbes, Kevin F. & Zampelli, Ernest M., 2002. "Technology and the exploratory success rate in the U.S. onshore," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 319-334.
    18. Machiel Mulder & Arie ten Cate & Ali Aouragh & Joeri Gorter, 2004. "Gas exploration and production at the Dutch continental shelf: an assessment of the 'Depreciation at Will'," CPB Document 66, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
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    20. Alcaraz, Carlo & Villalvazo, Sergio, 2017. "The effect of natural gas shortages on the Mexican economy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 147-153.
    21. Xu Zhao & Carol A. Dahl & Dongkun Luo, 2015. "How OECD countries subsidize oil and natural gas producers and modeling the consequences: A review with recommendations," Working Papers 2015-03, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    22. Fan, Joseph P. H., 2000. "Price uncertainty and vertical integration: an examination of petrochemical firms," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 345-376, December.
    23. Black, Geoffrey & LaFrance, Jeffrey T., 1998. "Is Hotelling's Rule Relevant to Domestic Oil Production?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 149-169, September.

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    HD28 .M414 no.659-; 73; Econometrics; Natural gas Law and legislation;

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