Mexico Passes Controversial Energy Bill

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Mexico's Congress on Thursday approved legislation to strengthen the market power of state oil firm Pemex that would also allow the government to revoke permits for business involving oil and gas. The overhauled hydrocarbons law is part of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's drive to roll back the last government's liberalization of the energy market, which aimed to increase private investment in the industry and boost competition (OD Apr.8'21). The legislation approved by the Senate grants the government the right to suspend permits for business including trade in oil and gas, based on "imminent danger to national security, energy security or the national economy." The bill, which had already passed the lower house of Congress, now passes to Lopez Obrador for promulgation. It is part of a series of measures he has pursued to weaken private influence over the Mexican energy market, which he says has put Pemex and state power utility CFE in existential peril. The new legislation could have repercussions for multinationals such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Total, which entered Mexico's fuel market after the reform. Pemex is the big winner of the changes because it is the only player with enough storage capacity for petroleum products to comply with the new rules, analysts say. (Reuters)

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