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Abstract

The goal of this project is the analysis of the relation between (i) the equilibria of simple models of competitive natural gas markets, using complementarity problems for modeling the behavior of different players, and (ii) the solution of corresponding single-level welfare maximization problems. The understanding of this fundamental relation is a prerequisite for an analysis of the current entry-exit gas market design in Europe. Similar questions have been studied in detail in the context of electricity market modeling in the past. For natural gas markets, however, the addressed questions are much more complex and not yet well understood for adequate models of gas physics. The reasons for the high level of complexity is twofold: First, gas flow through pipeline systems is inherently nonconvex due to gas physics. This renders classical first-order optimality conditions possibly insufficient. Second, the operation of gas transport networks comprises the control of active network devices like (control) valves or compressors. These devices introduce binary aspects and thus a further type of non-convexity to the models of the underlying equilibrium problems.
As a result of the project we will obtain a first reference model that combines gas physics and a market analysis in a well-understood way. This will lay the ground for multilevel models of entry-exit natural gas markets that account for network characteristics. Beyond that, our results will enhance the understanding of binary equilibrium problems.