Mexican Senate moves step closer to approving energy laws

MEXICO CITY, July 11 Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:50am EDT

MEXICO CITY, July 11 (Reuters) - Mexican Senate committees have finished debating a raft of rules and regulations to implement the government's opening of the oil and gas industry and will vote on the legislation next week, a senior lawmaker said late on Thursday.

David Penchyna, head of the Senate energy committee, said committee members in the upper house of Congress discussing the so-called secondary laws would reconvene on Monday for a vote.

Once passed in committees, the laws would pass to the floor of the Senate and thence to the lower house for approval.

The legislation sets out the fine print for a reform that is the cornerstone of President Enrique Pena Nieto's economic agenda. In December 2013, the government passed a bill ending state oil company Pemex's 75-year-old oil and gas monopoly.

Pena Nieto hopes allowing private companies to drill and produce oil in the world's number 10 crude producer will unlock dormant potential in Latin America's second-biggest economy, which has spent years underperforming local peers. (Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by David Holmes)