Mexican Congress Votes to Open Oil Industry to Private Companies

It hopes to raise output 60% by 2025

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Henry Romero / Reuters

Senator Emilio Gamboa of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) embraces a PRI senator after Mexico's Senate signed off on an energy bill at the Senate building in Mexico City December 11, 2013.

Mexico’s Congress passed a major piece of energy legislation Thursday that will open the country’s currently state-monopolized oil industry to private investment.

Mexico’s lower house voted to pass the bill after hours of rancorous debate. It now has to be approved by 17 of the country’s 31 state legislatures and signed by President Peña Nieto. The measure is a key piece of Nieto’s reform package, the Associated Press reports.

If it becomes law, the measure will permit the government to grant contracts and license to conduct oil and gas drilling operations to private companies, something currently banned under the country’s constitution. State-owned Petróleos Mexicanos, better known as Pemex, has had a monopoly on the industry for the last 75 years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Mexico is one of the largest oil producers in the world. By 2025, it hopes to raise output from 2.5 million barrels a day to 4 million a day.

MORE: Mexico’s Looming Oil Battle: Bid to Bring in Foreign Investment Sparks Protests