Draft Mexican energy law calls for higher local content level

MEXICO CITY, June 7 Sat Jun 7, 2014 7:12pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY, June 7 (Reuters) - Mexican lawmakers aim to set higher minimum requirements than first planned for how much local labor and materials companies investing in the oil and gas industry must use, according to a revised draft of pending legislation.

Mexico's Congress is in the process of approving so-called secondary laws to implement the government's December 2013 energy reform, which forms the cornerstone of President Enrique Pena Nieto's strategy to boost flagging economic growth.

The laws, which establish the fine print of the reform ending the oil and gas monopoly granted to state oil giant Pemex in 1938, are being closely watched by oil majors such as BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp.

Presented to Congress on April 30, the original draft of the secondary laws stipulated that "local content" of labor and material would need to reach an average of 25 percent by 2025.

Following cross-party negotiations, a revised version of the secondary laws seen by Reuters on Saturday showed lawmakers had proposed raising that requirement, which aims to strengthen the domestic oil and gas industry, to 35 percent of content by 2025.

Nevertheless, the draft said that investment in oil exploration and extraction in deep waters, where Mexico has had little experience, was an exception to this part.

The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) aims to vote the laws by the end of June, though it could take longer.

The revised draft also adds a section setting out fines for firms, including Pemex, for sharing technical information about the exploitation of oil and gas without government permission. (Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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