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Mexico Oil Laws May Be Delayed Beyond April, PAN Senator Says

Approval of bills to implement Mexico’s constitutional oil changes may be delayed beyond the current congressional session that ends April 30, according to a National Action Party senator on the energy committee.

Mexican lawmakers may need extra weeks to pass the so-called secondary laws, which have yet to be presented, Senator Jorge Luis Lavalle said today in a phone interview. An extra session in May would be one option for achieving passage, he said.

“There’s a possibility that the time period gets lengthened,” Lavalle said. “What we want is quality, and if this requires more time, it’s worth waiting a few more weeks to have the details right.”

Lavalle’s party, known as PAN, is the second-largest in each house of Mexico’s congress. Its members voted last year with President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to open Mexico’s state-controlled oil industry to private drilling for the first time since 1938.

Lavalle said PAN senators and lower house representatives are working on proposals for secondary laws.

While he doesn’t expect the energy bills to be presented next week, he said he still hopes lawmakers can approve the legislation in the session’s six remaining weeks.

Debate on telecommunications secondary legislation may come sooner. Lavalle, who’s also a member of the Senate communications and transportation committee, said he expects the Pena Nieto administration to present those bills early next week. Lawmakers already missed a December deadline and a February goal to approve the rules.

Lavalle said the Senate is also likely on March 25 to name members for a special committee to investigate Oceanografia SA. Mexico took control of the oil services provider on Feb. 28 after Citigroup Inc. alleged a $400 million loan fraud.

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