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Endogenizing long-term contracts in gas market models

Ibrahim Abada, Andreas Ehrenmann and Yves Smeers ()
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Andreas Ehrenmann: GDF Suez
Yves Smeers: Universitécatholique de Louvain, CORE, Belgium

No 2014036, LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE from Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Abstract: Up to now, the European natural gas trade was dominated by bilateral long-term upstream agreements between producers and midstreamers that fixed a minimum volume to be exchanged (Take Or Pay) and a price formula that was usually indexed on oil products prices. These arrangements were believed to allow: i) market risk sharing between the producer (who takes the price risk) and the midstreamer (who takes the volume risk) as well as ii) risk hedging since oil is considered as a trusted commodity by investors. The fall of the European demand combined with the increase of the oil price favored the emergence of a gas volume bubble that caused net losses for most of the European midstreamers who were bound by long-term agreements. As a result, some energy economists brought forward the idea of indexing contracts on gas spot prices. In this paper, we present an equilibrium model that endogenously captures the contracting behavior of both the producer and the midstreamer who strive to hedge their profit-related risk. The players choose between gas forward and oil-indexed contracts. Using the model we show that i) contracting can reduce the trade risk of both the producer and midstreamer, ii) oil-indexed contracts should be signed only when oil and gas spot prices are well correlated, otherwise, these contracts hold less interest for risk mitigation, iii) contracts are more needed when the upstream cost structure is CAPEX driven and iv) a too risk-averse behavior of the midstreamer might deprive upstream investments and the downstream consumer surplus.

Date: 2014-11-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cta and nep-ene
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