U.S. and Mexico reach deal on Gulf of Mexico oil exploration

02 20, 2012 by The Times-Picayune

The United States and Mexico signed an agreement Monday that will open up portions of the Gulf of Mexico along the two countries' borders to oil and gas exploration. There's been no prohibition against developing the area, containing 1.5 million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf, but it's been "essentially under a moratorium" because of uncertainty about which country owned the resources and controls the regulatory process, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday.

The acreage is bigger than the state of Delaware, according to U.S. officials.

The Transboundary Agreement, which still must be ratified by the U.S. and Mexican senates, would establish a process that allows U.S. companies and PEMEX, the giant Mexican petroleum company, to jointly develop reserves of oil and natural gas.