Mexico Senate committees give preliminary approval to energy bill

MEXICO CITY Mon Dec 9, 2013 4:38pm EST

MEXICO CITY Dec 9 (Reuters) - Three Mexican Senate committees on Monday gave general approval to an energy bill that would open up the world's 10th-biggest oil producer to private investment and mark the industry's most dramatic overhaul in 75 years.

The hotly-debated bill, which would allow private firms to partner with ailing state oil giant Pemex through licenses and profit and production sharing contracts, will now need final approval from the committees, which are set to start exhaustively debating the details later on Monday.

The reform, which would keep ownership of crude in state hands, is a cornerstone of an economic reform drive that President Enrique Pena Nieto hopes will boost long-lagging growth in Latin America's No.2 economy.

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