U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
February 20, 2012
U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement
The United States and Mexico today signed an agreement concerning the development of oil and gas reservoirs that cross the international maritime boundary between the two countries in the Gulf of Mexico. The Agreement is designed to enhance energy security in North America and support our shared duty to exercise responsible stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico. It is built on a commitment to the safe, efficient, and equitable exploitation of transboundary reservoirs with the highest degree of safety and environmental standards.
Elements of the Agreement
• The United States and Mexico jointly announced their intention to negotiate a transboundary hydrocarbons agreement on June 23, 2010 (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/06/143573.htm), following the Joint Statement (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/joint-statement-president-barack-obama-and-president-felipe-calder-n) adopted by Presidents Obama and Calderon at the conclusion of President Calderon’s State Visit to Washington on May 19, 2010.
• Upon entry into force, the current moratorium on oil exploration and production in the Western Gap portion of the Gulf of Mexico will end.
• The Agreement establishes a cooperative process for managing the maritime boundary region that promotes joint utilization of transboundary reservoirs.
• The Agreement provides a legal framework for possible commercial activities at the maritime boundary and sets clear guidelines for transboundary developments. It establishes incentives for oil and gas companies to voluntarily enter into arrangements to jointly develop any transboundary reservoirs. In the event such an arrangement is not achieved, the Agreement establishes a process by which U.S. companies and PEMEX can individually develop the resources on each side of the border while protecting each nation’s interests and resources.
• The legal certainty created by the Agreement will enable U.S. companies to explore new business opportunities and carry out collaborative projects with PEMEX.
• The Agreement also provides for joint inspections teams to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Both governments will review all plans for the development of any transboundary reservoirs.
Further Growth in the Bilateral Energy Relationship
• This Agreement has been a catalyst for increased engagement between our respective safety regulators for the oil and gas sector. That engagement is expected to deepen in the years ahead as we work together to exercise responsible stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico.
• Mexico is consistently one of the top three exporters of petroleum to the United States. It ranked second behind Canada in 2010 with exports to the United States of 1.3 million barrels per day.
• The United States and Mexico launched the Bilateral Framework on Clean Energy and Climate Change in April 2009 to explore ways to further develop the potential of this important energy trading relationship. With its focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, adaptation, market mechanisms, forestry and land use, green jobs, low carbon energy technology development and capacity building, the Bilateral Framework has supported work on common emissions standards for heavy vehicles, closer integration of electricity grids and development of solar and wind energy generation plants in the border region.
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