Mexico's federal congress has certified that 24 of the country's 31 state legislatures have approved sweeping energy reforms that allow private companies to explore for and produce oil and gas.

That is far above the 17 state approvals required to pass constitutional changes.

A congressional commission said Wednesday that it sent the bill to President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has said he will sign it into law as soon as possible.

Congress must now pass enabling legislation in order for the law to enter full effect. Congress has three months to do so.

It will allow Mexico's state-owned oil company to sign profit- and production-sharing agreements with private companies, and licenses under which the firms will pay royalties and taxes to Mexico's government for the right to drill for oil.