MEXICO CITY, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Mexican Senate Wednesday approved an historic energy reform bill aimed at ending state monopoly and allowing private investment in the hydrocarbon sector.
In a 19-hour marathon session, the bill sailed through the Senate with a 95-28 vote.
The bill allows the government to sign various kinds of contracts with private companies for the extraction and exploitation of hydrocarbons, and also permits exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons located in subsoil and beneath water.
The reform, first announced last August by President Pena Nieto, now goes to the House of Representatives for final approval. The government seeks to pass the law before Dec. 15, when the Congress' year-end recess begins.
If the bill passes the lower house, it has to be ratified by at least 17 of the 31 state legislatures for constitutional changes.
"Mexico will make better use of our vast energy resources," President Nieto said shortly after the Senate vote.
Calling the bill "transcendental," he said it will help the energy sector boost industrial and regional development in Mexico.