Mexico govt expected to present long-awaited energy laws on Weds

MEXICO CITY, April 29 Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:49pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY, April 29 (Reuters) - Mexico's government is expected on Wednesday to present long-awaited legislation to flesh out an energy reform that is the central pillar of President Enrique Pena Nieto's plan to ramp up growth in Latin America's No. 2 economy.

Passed in December, the energy overhaul ends the state's 75-year-old oil and gas monopoly and aims to generate billions of dollars worth of private investment in Mexico, the world's 10th biggest producer of crude oil.

The so-called secondary laws are needed to set regulations and other rules for the implementation of the reform, and the government had hoped to present them weeks ago. However, disputes with an increasingly divided opposition delayed the process.

The government is keen to present the laws before the current session of Congress ends on Wednesday and lawmakers in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had said they would be presented late on Tuesday or on Wednesday.

The finance and energy ministries have called a joint news conference for 10 a.m. local time (1500 GMT) on Wednesday, which senior officials in the PRI said would be when they are presented.

If the energy laws are presented on Wednesday, lawmakers say they are unlikely to be approved before the second half of June, when special sessions of Congress are expected to be held.

The PRI, which created state oil giant Pemex in 1938, wants to secure broad backing for the energy laws and is counting on support from the opposition center-right National Action Party (PAN).

Still, the PAN has made the passing of an electoral reform a condition for its support on energy. Those negotiations have proceeded slower than the PRI had hoped in the Senate and could still affect the fate of the energy legislation. (Reporting by Dave Graham and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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