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Open Access and the Evolution of the U.S. Spot Market for Natural Gas, Journal of Law and Economics


Abstract: Federal regulations promoting open-access transportation dramatically altered the organizational structure of the U.S. market for natural gas in the 1980s, generally unbundling the merchant and transport functions of interstate pipelines. An empirical analysis of wellhead spot prices is undertaken to examine the effect of open access on the geographic scope of the spot market. Using monthly spot price data from 1984-91, three statistical tests are applied and compared: price correlations, Granger causality, and cointegration. We find that open access integrated the regional wellhead markets into a national competitive market for natural gas. The effects of unbundling on contracts for natural gas are then investigated. Incentives for long-term contracts between pipelines and producers are shown to be effectively removed by the introduction of competitive buying and selling of gas at the wellhead through open access. Copyright 1994 by the University of Chicago.




Michael Doane, Daniel Spulber

Date Published



Doane, Michael, and Daniel Spulber. 1994. Open Access and the Evolution of the U.S. Spot Market for Natural Gas. Journal of Law and Economics. 37(2): 477-517.


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