Photo: Oil drilling
Eleven of Mexico’s state legislatures have approved the energy overhaul approved by Congress, with the approval of just six more state legislatures needed to allow the reforms to move forward.
The legislatures of Chiapas, Campeche, Baja California Sur, Coahuila, Sonora, Veracruz, Queretaro, Mexico state, Hidalgo, Durango and Jalisco approved the energy industry overhaul on Friday and Saturday.
The overhaul would end the 75-year monopoly over the industry enjoyed by state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, opening the way for private investment in petroleum exploration and production.
Protesters tried to enter the state legislature in the western state of Jalisco as lawmakers were debating the initiative on Saturday, but police stopped the demonstrators.
Lawmakers in Tlaxcala and Puebla states decided not to debate the legislation on Saturday.
Mexico’s lower house of Congress passed the energy overhaul bill last Wednesday.
The Chamber of Deputies approved the bill in general terms by a vote of 354-134 about 24 hours after the Senate gave the green light to the legislation.
The governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, backed the measure to end a state monopoly over the industry that dates back to 1938.
The leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, and its allies vehemently oppose the energy industry overhaul.
Because it sought to modify three articles of the Mexican Constitution, the bill needed to be passed with a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress.
A majority of Mexico’s 32 state legislatures must approve the reforms, which are aimed at boosting sagging oil output.
Pemex’s production has fallen by about 25 percent from a high of 3.3 million barrels per day in 2004 due to a sharp decline in production at Cantarell, formerly Mexico’s most productive field, and a lack of investment.