The forced abolishment of the Norwegian gas sales monopoly : a curse or a blessing?
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis looks at the effects of the abolishment of the Norwegian gas sales monopoly „GFU‟ in 2001. The conflicting interest between Norway as a gas exporting country and the European Union as mainly a gas importing region made the conflict over GFU “the biggest dispute between Norway and the EU since the signing of the EEA agreement”. In this thesis, I study the characteristics of the European gas market (with the current ongoing liberalization) and the role of Norway as a gas exporting country. The former gas sales monopoly model is presented with its advantages and disadvantages. Subsequently, I look at the effects of abolishing GFU in terms of gas export price, internal sales, market structure, contractual agreements and resource management. Based on relevant literature, price data and industry sources, I conclude that the „forced‟ abolishment of GFU has been largely beneficial for Norway. Firstly, the Norwegian government has managed to retain its control over the resource management of the Norwegian gas reserves. Secondly, an expected oversupply of Norwegian gas to the European market with a resulting lower gas export price has not materialized. Instead, the combination of increased flexibility of gas sales from the Norwegian Continental Shelf and the „tight‟ gas market situation in Europe has made Norway able to reap advantages of the abolishment of GFU.