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Mexican Senate Finalizes Historic Reforms of Oil Sector

  • VOA News

FILE - Excess natural gas is being flared, or burnt off, at a flare stack at the refinery in Tula.

Mexican lawmakers have approved legislation that will end the government's seven decade monopoly on the country's oil and gas sector.

The Senate voted Wednesday on a bill aimed at attracting billions of dollars in new investments from foreign and private oil companies in an effort to boost Mexico's sluggish oil production, which has plunged over the last decade from 3.4 million barrels to 2.5 million barrels a day under state-owned Pemex.

Pemex has been a source of national pride since the late President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized Mexico's oil industry in 1938.

Lawmakers with the leftist Democratic Revolution Party carried a life-sized portrait of Cardenas into the Senate chamber during Wednesday's debate and accused the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party of betraying the late president's legacy.

The legislation was part of a series of constitutional reforms pushed by President Enrique Pena Nieto involving Mexico's energy, telecommunications and banking sectors, which he says will revitalize Latin America's second-ranked economy.