What Direction Should European Policy Take on Natural Gas?


In this book we focus our attention on the natural gas market because, as we will see in detail, it will be of the utmost importance for Europe at least for the next 20 years, maybe 30. We therefore felt the need to better understand the key aspects of this market which is a good example of a global sector, i.e. an industry where the interactions among the actors are not limited to national or continental boundaries but are worldwide.

The fundamental objective of our work is to understand the implications of gas market dynamics and trends for Europe and especially for those countries – like Italy or Spain – that are strongly dependent on gas. As we will see, we think that European policies in this sector, historically based mainly on promotion of competition within the Continent, should be rethought. In a provocative way, we could say that while Europe is promoting competition inside the Continent, outside it there is a world of monopolies where competition it totally absent. This might be irrelevant if there were no interactions between the two worlds. If, on the contrary, the two systems are strongly interdependent, we should redefine the priorities for Europe; and these priorities should be related to the gas industry but in the wider context of European energy policy. Our view is that, in the new context that we will discuss in this work, competition within the Continent is not only no longer a priority, but might even create certain disadvantages in the global confrontation with the producing countries. Confrontation that we believe should lead to co-operation models based on a fair and long term economic base.

In this Chapter we will give an overall picture of the global natural gas industry and of the main results of our research work. Most of the points treated here will be examined in more depth in the following chapters, this being a sort of executive summary.


European Policy South Stream Leading Player European Energy Policy Efficient Electricity Production 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

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