Mexico kicks off energy reform debate

Mexico reforms: Lawmakers in Senate committees kick off debate process

Lawmakers in Mexico's senate have begun debate over laws to implement the country's landmark energy reform, according to local reports.

Members of the senate's energy and legislative study committees held an eight-hour session on Tuesday after finally agreeing on a framework for debating the legal changes, the el Financiero newspaper reported.

The committee members will meet on the draft legislative proposal proposed by President Enrique Pena Nieto from 11 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 7 pm on weekdays with Saturday and Sunday sessions if necessary.

The process is scheduled to run no later than 23 June with voting as soon as 25 June. Lawmakers were originally supposed to finish the process by the end of April but missed their deadline, forcing the need for a summertime special session.

Mexico's Congress must pass laws to put in place constitutional reforms last year that ended the 75-year monopoly of state oil company Pemex.

And the ultimate details and terms agreed to in the implementing regime will be crucial for oil and gas companies seeking to invest.

The debate will be a continued face-off between the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of president Enrique Pena Nieto, which allied with the centre-right National Action Party (PAN) to pass the reforms.

The business-friendly PAN has additional items on its wish list it will try and place in the reform, while the left-leaning Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) opposed the general reform and aims to stall the progress.

Multiple points from the president's proposal will be potentially contentious, said the ADN Politico news source.

The National Hydrocarbons Commission would be able to approve exploration plans and partnerships without approval from the nation's energy ministry (Sener), though that body may disagree.

The committees will also take up methods of bid selection and local content, which the PRI proposal would increase to 35% from 25% with lower levels allowed for deep-water projects.

The PAN, for its part, would like to see measures to include more transparency in the tender process.

It would also like to see members of the board of Pemex to be ratified by the Senate. not just appointed by the president, wrote El Universal.

The party has also proposed giving landowners a percentage of oil revenues from hydrocarbons production.

The PRD still aims to hold a national referendum on the energy reform in 2015 and issued a release Tuesday repeating its opposition.

The party has also accused the ruling coalition of holding the discussions while Mexicans' attention is captured by the World Cup in Brazil, according to a report from Agence France Presse.


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