Mexico Lower House Passes Final Oil Bills, Sends Them to Senate

Mexico’s Lower House early today passed the last package of bills to regulate an end to Petroleos Mexicanos’s state-oil monopoly, sending the legislation to the Senate for final approval after making minor changes on pension and retirement issues.

Lawmakers modified the bill to make the age at which Pemex workers retire the same as it is for other federal employees. They also decided the company needs to have its pension funds audited, which, like the age requirement, is contingent on the government assuming some Pemex debt.

Earlier this week, Lower House committees had approved legislation to give Pemex and state utility Comision Federal de Electricidad the chance to transfer some of their pension liabilities to the government if they modified labor agreements.

The changes could free up capital for other projects at Pemex, whose liabilities reached 1.13 trillion pesos ($85.7 billion) as of March 31, according to its chief financial officer, Mario Beauregard.

“The Federation’s Superior Auditors will carry out a specific audit concerning Pemex’s pension liabilities and those of its subsidiaries in order to identify the characteristics of the payment obligations” the bill states.

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