Mexico lawmakers see delay in energy reform fine print

MEXICO CITY, April 1 Tue Apr 1, 2014 11:15pm EDT

MEXICO CITY, April 1 (Reuters) - Top Mexican congressional officials said on Tuesday that the approval of the eagerly-awaited fine print of a landmark energy overhaul will likely be delayed until at least May, meaning Congress would have to call a special session to debate it.

Passed late last year, the constitutional overhaul ended state-owned oil company Pemex's 75-year monopoly and paves the way for billions of dollars worth of new investments in the country's lumbering energy sector.

The reform stipulated that lawmakers have until April 20 to approve so-called secondary legislation that fleshes out key commercial and regulatory details of the reform, but Congress appears poised to bust the deadline.

"It is very likely that we might be approving the energy secondary laws during the extraordinary session in May," said a senior lawmaker with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks.

Mexico's Congress is scheduled to end its current session on April 30, but the lawmaker said a pending electoral reform that opposition conservatives are insisting come first will not allow for enough time to consider the energy bill fine print.

Several congressional officials said the energy legislation will be delayed to at least May.

Once the secondary laws are set, Pemex is widely expected to ink joint ventures with international oil majors in a bid to boost crude oil output which has dropped by a quarter since hitting peak production of 3.4 million barrels per day in 2004. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Simon Gardner and Himani Sarkar)

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