| MEXICO CITY, July 29
MEXICO CITY, July 29 Lawmakers in Mexico's lower
house approved on Tuesday a key package of bills needed to
implement a landmark energy overhaul, but made minor changes
that will now need to be approved by the Senate.
The bills, including a crucial new hydrocarbons law, form
the backbone of a reform to open the long-shuttered oil sector
to private and foreign investment via a potentially lucrative
new contacting scheme aimed at luring oil majors like Royal
Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil.
The constitutional overhaul passed late last year ended the
75-year monopoly enjoyed by state-owned oil company
Pemex, which has struggled to stem declining crude
production for a decade.
Late on Monday, lawmakers from the centrist Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President Enrique Pena Nieto and
the center-right National Action Party (PAN) voted
overwhelmingly to give the package general approval.
Lawmakers debated through the night and voted hours later to
approve the particulars of the bills, but made changes to ensure
Mexico's rural landowner groups, or ejidos, are guaranteed
compensation when extraction takes place on their lands.
Many ejidos have taken to the streets of Mexico City in
recent days, fearing the energy reform will lead to widespread
The modified bills now head to the Senate, which approved
the drafts last week, for ratification.
Final approval of the secondary legislation is expected by
The package of bills approved on Tuesday, part of nearly 30
separate pieces of legislation needed to implement the reform,
also include laws that cover foreign investment, mining and
(Writing by David Alire Garcia and Gabriel Stargardter; Editing
by Simon Gardner and Chris Reese)