U.S., Mexico reach oil pact

Agreement reached on oil development along maritime border

After years of negotiations, the United States and Mexico agreed on Feb. 20 to guidelines for the development of oil and gas along their Gulf of Mexico maritime border.

The Transboundary Agreement allows for the joint inspection of oil rigs, which means each country will be able to oversee the safety and environmental standards of the other for the first time, according to the New York Times. As the deal could open up to 1.5 million acres to deep-sea drilling, both countries felt it was important to establish shared safety protocols, said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

“As the Mexicans move into deepwater development, we want to make sure it’s done in a way that protects the environment and is as safe as possible,” Salazar said.

Estimates project the area contains about 172 million barrels of oil and 300 billion cubic feet of natural gas.