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EMF OP 30: Emerging Competition in California Gas Markets

Abstract: 
The California Energy Commission (CEC) organized this conference to help the Commission develop a sound analytical base for its natural gas policy and to promote a stimulating and informed exchange of ideas between policy-makers, private sector decision-makers, and industry analysts. This paper describes the major issues addressed during the conference, which included sessions on tracking North American natural gas markets, promoting competition through regulatory policy, meeting the challenges of the California gas market, transportation and electricity generation as potential growth markets, the influence of environment policy on natural gas markets, and new markets for natural gas services. The paper focuses on identifying salient trends and issues raised in each session rather than on providing a detailed account of each talk. Not all speakers on a panel necessarily agree with all points mentioned for a particular session. Commissioner Robert Mussatter of the CEC opened the conference by raising two issues: (1) Are we really introducing competition into the market place or is it simply rhetoric? and (2)Are regulatory agencies anticipating future problems or are they resigned to fighting the last war? He challenged the speakers and audience to help evaluate our progress and identify key feature issues in making competition work in the California natural gas market.