Mexican president signs landmark energy legislation into law

MEXICO CITY Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:20pm EDT

MEXICO CITY Aug 11 (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed into law on Monday a package of laws setting out the fine print of a landmark energy reform that promises to lure billions of dollars in investment to the country's ailing oil, gas and electricity sectors.

Pena Nieto has made the energy overhaul the top economic priority of his administration, which aims to boost slumping growth in the world's 15th biggest economy.

He said at a ceremony at the national palace that the energy ministry will announce two next steps in the reform later this week. A so-called Round Zero allocation of oil and gas fields that Pemex will keep is to be unveiled on Wednesday.

The energy ministry will also announce which fields will later be put up for grabs for foreign and private oil companies in the first round of public tenders, expected to take place next year.

The reform ends the decades-long monopoly enjoyed by Mexico's two state-owned energy behemoths, national oil company Pemex and electricity utility CFE, and opens up new opportunities for investment across the industry.

International oil majors like BP and Exxon Mobile have been closely monitoring the legislative process and are widely expected to compete for newly established development contracts and licenses as early as next year. (Reporting by Noe Torres, David Alire Garcia and Adriana Barrera; Editing by Simon Gardner)

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