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The Efficient Use of Multiple Sources of a Nonrenewable Resource under Supply Cost Uncertainty

  • GAUDET, Gérard
  • LASSERRE, Pierre

Uncertainties as to future supply costs of nonrenewable natural resources, such as oil and gas, raise the issue of the choice of supply sources. In a perfectly deterministic world, an efficient use of multiple sources of supply requires that any given market exhausts the supply it can draw from a low cost source before moving on to a higher cost one, supply sources should be exploited in strict sequence of increasing marginal cost, with a high cost source being left untouched as long as a less costly source is available. We find that this may not be the efficient thing to do in a stochastic world. We show that there exist conditions under which it can be efficient to use a risky supply source in order to conserve a cheaper non risky source. The benefit of doing this comes from the fact that it leaves open the possibility of using it instead of the risky source in the event the latter’s future cost conditions suddenly deteriorate. There are also conditions under which it will be efficient to use a more costly non risky source while a less costly risky source is still available. The reason is that this conserves the less costly risky source in order to use it in the event of a possible future drop in its cost.

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Paper provided by Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 04-2008.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:04-2008
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  1. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Favard, Pascal & Gaudet, Gerard & Moreaux, Michel, 1998. "On the Optimal Order of Natural Resource Use When the Capacity of the Inexhaustible Substitute Is Limited," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 153-170, May.
  2. Long, Ngo Van, 1975. "Resource extraction under the uncertainty about possible nationalization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 42-53, February.
  3. Gerard Gaudet & Michel Moreaux & Stephen W. Salant, 2001. "Intertemporal Depletion of Resource Sites by Spatially Distributed Users," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1149-1159, September.
  4. Bergstrom, Clas & Loury, Glenn C & Persson, Mats, 1985. "Embargo Threats and the Management of Emergency Reserves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 26-42, February.
  5. Hartwick, John M. & Kemp, Murray C. & Van Long, Ngo, 1986. "Set-up costs and theory of exhaustible resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 212-224, September.
  6. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Weiner, Robert J., 1989. "Dynamic policy coordination: Stockpiling for energy security," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 9-22, January.
  7. Hillman, Arye L & Long, Ngo Van, 1983. "Pricing and Depletion of an Exhaustible Resource When There Is Anticipation of Trade Disruption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 215-33, May.
  8. Kemp, Murray C & Long, Ngo Van, 1980. "On Two Folk Theorems Concerning the Extraction of Exhaustible Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 663-73, April.
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