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COMPETITION IN THE UK GAS INDUSTRY An explanation of the events occurred at St Fergus and Bacton in Summer and Autumn 1998

By Mario Pagliero


In Summer and Autumn 1998 a series of singular events occurred at the two main gas terminals on the UK mainland. At St Fergus, in Scotland, shippers wanted to input more gas than what was physically possible while at Bacton, in England, input was particularly low. As a consequence Transco had to take balancing operations in order to maintain equilibrium in the transportation system. The balancing operations caused significant costs for the industry. The reasons for this sequence of unusual events are still not completely clear. The aim of this paper is to study the incentives faced by shippers during Summer and Autumn 1998 and to give a reasonable explanation for the events at St Fergus and Bacton. We model the interaction between shippers as a two stage game in which shippers first decide their “nominations ” and then compete on the “Flexibility Mechanism”. We find the Nash equilibria in pure strategies of the game and we conclude that a series of exogenous events (expansion programs, new gas fields) may have induced shippers to force significant constraints at the terminals in order to increase profits from Transco balancing operations

Year: 2000
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