Historic energy overhaul advances in Mexican Congress

MEXICO CITY Sat Aug 2, 2014 12:39pm EDT

MEXICO CITY Aug 2 (Reuters) - Mexico's lower house of Congress passed early on Saturday the last package of bills needed to implement a landmark energy reform, moving the reform one step closer to final approval.

Following a marathon three-day extraordinary session, lawmakers made minor changes to bills setting out fiscal terms of the reform, returning the legislation to the Senate for final passage next week.

The reform championed by President Enrique Pena Nieto ends the monopoly on crude oil production enjoyed by state-run company Pemex and promises to lure international oil majors like BP and Exxon Mobil back to Mexico after the assets of their corporate forerunners were expropriated in 1938.

The so-called secondary legislation needed to flesh out the constitutional reform passed late last year includes some 30 bills setting out contractual and regulatory terms of the reform.

The bills passed on Saturday include a provision allowing the federal government to absorb a portion of the roughly 1.7 trillion peso ($129 billion) pension liabilities shouldered by Pemex and national electricity company CFE in a bid to improve the post-reform financial health of both. ($1 = 13.1878 Mexican Pesos) (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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