nep-ene New Economics Papers
on Energy Economics
Issue of 2008‒02‒23
seven papers chosen by
Roger Fouquet
Imperial College, UK

  1. Oil Prices: Heavy Tails, Mean Reversion and the Convenience Yield By Bernard, Jean-Thomas; Khalaf, Lynda; Kichian, Maral; McMahon, Sébastien
  2. Restructuring of Energy-intensive Industrial Branches in Romania and Proposals for Industrial Policy Measures By Gábor Hunya; Waltraut Urban
  3. Privatization Disputes in Romania - the Petrom Case By Gábor Hunya
  4. Les stratégies d’exportation de Gazprom sous la contrainte institutionnelle du marché gazier russe By Catherine Locatelli
  5. Biomass energy: new opportunity for agriculture and marginal areas? By M. Bruna Zolin
  6. Greenhouse gas emission mitigation through agriculture By Pushpam Kumar; Uwe A. Schneider
  7. Climate Change and Tourism in the Mediterranean By Andrea Bigano; Jacqueline M. Hamilton; Richard S.J. Tol

  1. By: Bernard, Jean-Thomas; Khalaf, Lynda; Kichian, Maral; McMahon, Sébastien
    Abstract: Empirical research on oil price dynamics for modeling and forecasting purposes has brought forth several unsettled issues. Indeed, statistical support is claimed for various models of price paths, yet many of the competing models differ importantly with respect to their fundamental temporal properties. In this paper, we study one such property that is still debated in the literature, namely mean-reversion, with focus on forecast performance. Because of their impact on mean-reversion, we account for non-constancies in the level and in volatility. Three specifications are considered: (i) random-walk models with GARCH and normal or student-t innovations, (ii) Poisson-based jump-diffusion models with GARCH and normal or student-t innovations, and (iii) mean-reverting models that allow for uncertainty in equilibrium price and for time-varying convenience yields. We compare forecasts in real time, for 1, 3 and 5 year horizons. For the jump-based models, we rely on numerical methods to approximate forecast errors. Results based on future price data ranging from 1986 to 2007 strongly suggest that imposing the random walk for oil prices has pronounced costs for out-of-sample forecasting. Evidence in favor of price reversion to a continuously evolving mean underscores the importance of adequately modeling the connvenience yield.
    Keywords: Heavy tails, oil price, convenience yield, oil forecasts, mean reversion, structural stability
    JEL: Q4 C52 C53 G1
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Gábor Hunya (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Waltraut Urban (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: Part 1 of the report provides an overview of the position of energy-intensive industries in Romania as compared to other Central and East European economies. The industries identified as particularly 'energy-intensive' are the paper industry, the chemical, the non-metallic mineral products and the basic metals industries. The countries selected for benchmarking are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria. The comparison includes production, employment, productivity and investment including foreign direct investment in the respective branches. Part 2 presents a more detailed analysis of the most energy-intensive sub-branches (pulp & paper, basic chemicals, glass, ceramics, cement, iron & steel and aluminium) focusing on major performance indicators such as value added and foreign trade developments; also included is information on the ownership structure, status of modernization, compliance with the acquis and the further demand for restructuring. Part 3 points out the demand for and possibilities of policy support for the energy-intensive branches in Romania with a view to EU membership. A special focus is on sectoral issues (steel and basic chemicals), energy pricing (electricity, gas), regional, labour market and environmental issues.
    Keywords: Romania, energy intensity, industrial policy, foreign trade, competitiveness
    JEL: L1 L52 L61 L65 H32 Q43 Q48 Q58
    Date: 2007–04
  3. By: Gábor Hunya (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: In 2004 the Austrian-based OMV acquired in a privatization process 51% of the Romanian national oil company Petrom. Two and a half years later this privatization is again in the focus of political attention in Romania. The current government and the media consider the selling price and the royalties too low in view of the high international oil and gas prices. The whole issue of privatization is on the agenda. This paper investigates the privatization of Petrom in its historical context and deals with its consequences. In 2003-2004 the privatization of large companies was seen as a prerequisite to put an end to non-transparent subsidization, rent-seeking and favouritism in the Romanian economy. The Petrom sale was urged by the necessity to obtain from the EU Commission the ¿functioning market economy status¿ and to close all negotiation chapters by the end of 2004. Fair and open bidding resulted in selecting the winner and setting the sales price. The conditions of privatization, the sales price and other stipulations of the privatization process reflected the then level of knowledge and the risks associated with a Romanian company. Meanwhile, due to high international oil prices and the improved business conditions in Romania, an EU member as of 2007, the value of the company is now certainly higher than it was two years ago ¿ which also benefits the Romanian state as (direct and indirect) holder of 40% of Petrom's shares. It is debatable how far the recent increases in international oil prices could be foreseen in 2003, but it is quite certain that the International Energy Agency and large oil companies did not expect such a development. Still, the high oil prices benefit Petrom, and the large one-time profits finance investments. The sale of Petrom to OMV and its subsequent restructuring stabilized the company. New technologies, management techniques and organizational structures have increased efficiency. The company envisages the production decline to come to an end in 2007; explorations in Kazakhstan will add to Romania¿s supply in the future. As a further advantage, Petrom is the OMV subsidiary in charge of the company¿s business in the CIS and in Southeast Europe, Bucharest becoming the regional headquarters. The discussions around the OMV'Petrom case should have no relevance for greenfield investments in Romania, but large-scale privatizations particularly in the energy sector suffer delays. The government has stalled a number of important privatizations thus nurturing potential hotbeds of corruption.
    Keywords: privatization, oil and gas security, gas price, Romania, Petrom, OMV
    JEL: F23 L33 L71 P26 P31 Q38
    Date: 2007–03
  4. By: Catherine Locatelli (LEPII - Laboratoire d'Économie de la Production et de l'Intégration Internationale - CNRS : UMR5252 - Université Pierre Mendès-France - Grenoble II)
    Abstract: Les principales caractéristiques de la stratégie d’exportation de gaz naturel de la compagnie gazière russe Gazprom sur le marché européen sont une réponse aux incertitudes (volumes, prix) créées par la libéralisation du marché gazier de l’UE. La politique d’acquisition d’actifs menée depuis la fin des années 1980, la multiplication des réseaux d’exportation mais aussi la volonté de maintenir des contrats de long terme tout en profitant de nouvelles opportunités contractuelles en sont des illustrations. Mais les stratégies industrielles et commerciales que peut développer l’entreprise gazière sont en partie déterminées par les caractéristiques de son marché intérieur (bas prix du gaz, quotas de consommation). En l’absence d’un véritable marché gazier intérieur, de fortes contraintes pèsent sur la capacité de production et donc d’exportation de Gazprom. Par conséquent, les « relations gazières » entre la Russie et l’UE - la sécurité gazière de celle-ci mais aussi la capacité de la Russie à exercer un réel pouvoir de marché en Europe - dépendront largement de la capacité de la Russie à réformer son marché intérieur.
    Keywords: Exportation ; industrie gaziere ; Russie ; Gazprom ; marché international ; gaz naturel
    Date: 2008–02
  5. By: M. Bruna Zolin (Department of Economics, University Of Venice Cà Foscari)
    Abstract: As it is well known, energy is essential for human activities. Despite the high level of technological progress, the increase of energy consumption, satisfied mainly by fossil fuels, raises a series of issues linked to the scarcity of oil reserves, and their growing cost, and to a delicate relationship (and dependence) with a restricted number of world regions and nations. A greater diversification of the energy supply is one of the solutions to solve these problems, especially in the field of renewable resources. Despite the fact that biofuels are still more expensive than fossil fuels, they present many advantages: they are not subject to a progressive exhaustion and their impact on the environment is very low, due to their inclusion in natural cycles. Among biofuels a relevant role is played by the biomass, a renewable resource, that is obtained from the fraction of products, waste and residues from agriculture, forestry and related industries, as well as the biodegradable fraction of industrial and municipal waste. This resource allows a relevant control of the greenhouse gas emission, a minor dependence from oil and gas resources and represents a way for the economic valorisation of local resources and a opportune utilisation of agricultural wastes. In this context, the aims of the paper are to highlight the opportunities and the bonds that the biomass utilisation involves, to analyse the main public policies adopted to boost a large-scale production and consumption, to measure the different degree of utilisation at national (Italy) and European levels and to draw future scenarios. Particular attention will be paid to the European policies starting from the 1992 reform process until nowadays, having in mind the shortage of cereals in the world market. Where possible and opportune, the situation of Italy and of the European union will be compared with that of India, mainly, as regards public decisions/programmes. The paper concludes with an analysis of the role that the biofuel production is expected to offer in terms of new opportunities to diversify income and employment in rural and marginal areas.
    Keywords: Biomass energy, rural and marginal areas, energy public policies
    JEL: O13 P28 Q18 Q41 Q42 Q48
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Pushpam Kumar; Uwe A. Schneider (Research unit Sustainability and Global Change)
    Keywords: agriculture, climate change
    JEL: Q54
    Date: 2008–02
  7. By: Andrea Bigano; Jacqueline M. Hamilton; Richard S.J. Tol (Economic and Social Research Institute)
    Keywords: tourism, mediterranean, climate change
    JEL: L83 Q54
    Date: 2008–02

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