Keywords: natural gas, spot markets, take-, or-, pay, liberalisation, privatisation, third party access, restructuring, Groningen
Structural changes in the European gas industry: causes and consequences
The imposition of third party access to pipelines under the terms of the European Union's Gas Directive will lead to a radical restructuring of the European natural gas industry (the Directive is summarised in an appendix to the paper). State involvement in the industry will be reduced to a regulatory role. The speed of change will vary from country to country, but will gather pace as the inevitable development of short term gas trading undermines the system of long-term take-or-pay contracts on which the industry has been based since its inception.