Mexico likely to publish energy reform bills next week -president

Reuters

MEXICO CITY, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said on Wednesday he would likely sign a series of bills next week to implement the historic opening of the state-run oil, gas and electricity sectors to more private investment.

Mexican Senators are voting this week on laws aimed at attracting companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp, and help stem declining crude production in Latin America's No. 2 economy.

When asked by reporters if the laws would be published next week, Peña Nieto said: "It is very likely to happen that way."

A constitutional overhaul approved last year ended the 75-year monopoly of state-owned oil company Pemex, which has struggled with falling output for a decade. Lawmakers took months longer than expected to pass the bills needed to flesh out the reform.

The government had hoped to have the first auctions of oil and gas fields later this year, but it is now likely to take until the third quarter of next year.

Pemex could move quickly in the coming weeks to announce joint ventures with international oil majors as soon as the Energy Ministry determines which fields the company will keep and which will be open to private companies.

The energy ministry has until mid-September to makes it decision on the so-called Round Zero allocation for Pemex, but it could happen sooner.

Peña Nieto has sought the reforms to help boost Mexico's economy, which has lagged more dynamic emerging markets. The economy grew 1.l percent during his first year in office and Mexico is expected to post a 2.6 percent rate this year.

(Reporting by Noe Torres. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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