Mexico's Senate OKs fresh changes to Pemex, electrical utility

MEXICO CITY, July 21 Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:18am EDT

MEXICO CITY, July 21 (Reuters) - Mexico's Senate passed two bills late on Sunday that set out modified structures for the country's two state-owned energy companies, part of a sweeping reform that overhauls the oil, gas and electricity sectors.

The new laws that define the administration and new transparency measures for state-run oil company Pemex and national electricity utility CFE passed on a vote of 89 to 27.

The legislation gives Pemex more budgetary autonomy and a new tax structure, while gradually requiring both Pemex and CFE to operate as competitive firms.

The bills were passed by a coalition of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the center-right National Action Party (PAN), and opposed by a collection of center-left parties.

Included in a package of nearly 30 so-called secondary laws that implement changes to Mexico's constitution approved late last year, the legislation still awaits debate and vote in the lower house.

The reform package ends the exploration and production monopoly held for decades by Pemex, as well as the monopoly held by CFE.

Final congressional approval of the secondary laws is expected by the end of July or early August. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Simon Gardner and Meredith Mazzilli)

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