Pact Affirms U.S., Mexico Environmental Cooperation

Published on 27 December 2013

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by Sonya Weakley


Washington, D.C.

Oil Workers Set The Drill On Petróleos Mexicanos’ Centenario Deep-Water Drilling Platform
Oil Workers Set The Drill On Petróleos Mexicanos’ Centenario Deep-Water Drilling Platform

The U.S.–Mexico Transboundary Hydocarbons Agreement that President Obama signed December 23 represents the enduring strength of cooperation between the United States and Mexico on environmental issues.

As a result of the agreement, more than 600,000 hectares of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf will be more accessible for exploration and production. According to the U.S. Department of Interior, the area contains as much as 172 million barrels of oil and 8 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said the agreement enables U.S. offshore oil and gas companies and Mexico’s Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) to jointly develop reservoirs across national boundaries, removing uncertainties about development of energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The agreement makes available promising areas in the resource-rich Gulf of Mexico and establishes a clear process by which both governments can provide the necessary oversight to ensure exploration and development activities are conducted safely,” Jewell said in a statement released by the Interior Department December 23.

Certain resources along the boundary that were off limits to both countries under a previous moratorium will be opened for exploration to both countries, she said.

U.S. companies and PEMEX may develop reservoirs jointly. However, if they cannot reach consensus, the agreement establishes the process through which they individually may develop the resources on each side of the border while protecting each nation’s interests and resources.

Inspection teams with representatives from both countries will ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Agencies on both sides will review all plans for the development of cross-boundary reservoirs, and additional requirements might be set before development activities are allowed to begin.

Foreign and domestic representatives from the United States and Mexico had been negotiating the agreement since May 2010, when President Obama and then-Mexican President Felipe Calderón agreed to jointly develop reservoirs while respecting each nation’s legal framework.

Mexico’s legislature approved the agreement in April 2012, after then-U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, President Calderon, then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, then-Mexican Minister of Foreign Relations Patricia Espinosa and Mexican Minister of Energy Jordy Herrera met to sign it earlier in 2012.

This new agreement is consistent with a longstanding record of cooperation between Mexico and the United States on environmental issues. In July 2013, Canada, Mexico and the United States agreed on an action plan to improve environmental standards in the transportation sector, to act on climate change and to improve air quality.



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Posted 2013-12-27 08:55:00