Regulatory Reform

European Gas

International Energy Agency

The countries of Continental Europe have started the process of reforming their natural gas markets. This book sets the context for, and considers the issues raised by, these reforms. It also analyses the key elements of effective reform, such as third party access to the gas infrastructure. Unlike earlier reformers, Europe faces important challenges of growing import dependency and reliance on a few large producer countries, against a background of strong demand growth. It is vital that both short and long term security of supply are sustained in the new market conditions. At the same time a key objective of reform is to improve economic efficiency through competition and short term trade, in order to reduce prices for natural gas consumers. The book argues that security and competition are not incompatible, and that security can be enhanced by competition provided that reform is handled with care. As Europe implements the EU Gas Directive, this book is a timely review for energy policy makers and others involved in the reform process. It is the latest in a series of IEA publications on energy market reforms.