A controversial law which allows foreign companies to drill for oil since the sector was nationalised in 1938 has been passed by Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto.
Congress passed the legislation on 13th December which was also approved by a majority of Mexican states.
The opposing legislators tried to prevent last week’s vote by protesting outside the Congress building, blocking the entrance with piled up chairs.
The conservative National Action Party and the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party teamed up to defeat the opposition, but the legislation was ratified by 24 out of 32 Mexican federal entities (31 states and the Federal District).
Mr Pena Nieto will now send a new set of “secondary bills” to Congress to implement the energy reform.
“This year we, Mexicans, have decided to overcome myths and taboos in order to take a great step towards the future,” he said.
MP Antonio Garcia denounced the ‘stripping of Mexico’s wealth’ by removing his clothes in Congress. A day later the law was passed by the Senate and approved by the lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies.
President Pena Nieto believes the reform will assist Mexico in attracting investment to boost it’s oil output, which is decreasing.
“This is the beginning of a new history for our country. We have opened the doors for a better future for all,” said Mr Pena Nieto.
Oil production in Mexico has dropped from 3.4 million barrels per day in 2004 to the current rate of 2.5 million barrels per day.
The legislation changes three articles in the Mexican constitution and allow foreign investment in oil, gas and electricity.
Private companies will be allowed to sign contracts to drill for oil and gas with state-controlled firm Pemex, which will get a share of the profits.
The Mexican oil sector was nationalised in 1938 by President Lazaro Cardenas.