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For years, we've been told that ownership of production and distribution assets did not matter, so long as there were market mechanisms to ensure supply...

Continental importers went "yeah, yeah" and struck deals to make sure they had uninterrupted security of supply and as much diversification as possible. The Netherlands wisely put a cap on gas production to keep domestic reserves available for the future, and these countries made sure thay had big enough companies to dela with the monopoly sellers in Russia, Algeria or even Norway.

And now that North Sea gas is running out, who panicks at the first sign of a gas spat between Russia and Ukraine, vetoes the purchase of its gas distributor by Gazprom, yells that the evil continentals won't share their gas, and starts talking about network interconnection, single buyer policies in Europe and sharing of resources on a continent-wide basis? The importer newby, Tony B., that's who... and in his trail the clueless competition directorate at the European Commission.

(btw, it's a fact that the EU is by no means monolithic on that subject. The competition and energy directorate have basically been in open warfare in the past few years, with the industry directorate moving one way or another depending on how relative prices in open or not-so-open markets were mowing...)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 11:18:28 AM EST
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