Mexico’s Congress late Wednesday approved a comprehensive energy reform that will break more than seven decades of state monopoly and dramatically expand the role of foreign and private companies in the country’s oil and gas industry.
The package of new laws will now go to the desk of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who has made energy reform the cornerstone of his platform to expand Mexico’s economy and make the country a global competitor.
His other reforms have included rewriting telecommunications, education and election laws.
“Of all the reforms that have been done up to now, this is without doubt, the most important,” said Carlos Capistrani, chief economist in Mexico for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “It has the potential to transform Mexico.”
The reforms have faced opposition and protests from international groups like Greenpeace as well as farmers and indigenous organizations. These groups say the extractive processes that will now be permitted under the law, such as fracking, will endanger their land and livelihoods.