A major opposition party has called for easing Mexico’s tight limits on private and foreign investments in its oil and energy industries, Dow Jones reports.

“We have to look for ways to make these state-run agencies become more efficient,” said Carlos Medina Plascencia, Congressional leader of the National Action Party, during a news conference outlining proposed changes for Petroleos Mexicanos and the Federal Electricity Commission.

However, reforms by market-orientated officials repeatedly have been frustrated by nationalist sentiment against easing federal control of natural resources or their exploitation. Government ownership of the energy sector has been basic to Mexican politics since 1938, when the oil companies were nationalised.

In the 1980s, some investment was allowed in sectors of the energy industry. Medina Plascencia is calling for a dramatic extension to possible foreign investment. He complained that Mexicans suffer high energy prices due to price control.