An unfair competition

As one of the largest importers of natural gas in the European Union, Italy is a clear example of why liberalisation is harder in net importing countries. Alberto Cavaliere, professor of public economics at the University of Pavia, looks at the state of competition in Italy

The Italian gas market is among the largest in the European Union (EU). With consumption of 78.7 billion cubic metres (m3), Italy's demand was 17% of total gas consumption in the EU–25 in 2006, according to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy.

Historically, Italy's demand growth was initially driven by industry during the post-war economic boom, and was then supported by the discovery of indigenous production fields in the Po Valley by Agip, the oil company that became Eni. The growth of

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