Mexican Senate prepares to vote on historic energy bill

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By Alexandra Alper and Dave Graham MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's Senate on Tuesday debated a landmark energy overhaul bill at the center of President Enrique Pena Nieto's economic reform drive, after the country's two biggest political parties hammered out a draft presented over the weekend. The reform, backed by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the opposition conservative National Action Party (PAN), would mark the biggest strategic shift since the world's No. 10 oil producer nationalized the sector in 1938. The reforms are designed to lure private oil companies to either operate independently in Mexico, or partner with state oil monopoly Pemex through production- and profit-sharing, service contracts and licenses. Senate committees overseeing the bill gave it general approval on Monday before beginning a protracted debate on reservations raised by leftist lawmakers trying to derail it.