Natural Gas and the Opening of the Single European Market
The share of natural gas in the national energy balance varies considerably from country to country in the EEC. The organization of production, imports, transport and distribution also differs greatly. Some countries have a state monopoly, while others allow a certain degree of competition among private or semi-private companies. Despite such differences, cooperation among EEC gas enterprises already exists. The Single European Act could upset the existing equilibrium if it were to lead to the adoption of the "common carrier" principle. While one can envision free transit of natural gas within the EEC and an abolition of the import monopoly where that exists, third party transport is likely to upset the economics of the present system, which is based on two principles: long-term contracts and the general acceptance of the net-back principle.
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