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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces an ambitious energy exploration agreement with Mexico. The Latin American country is gambling on huge deep water oil reserves to salvage its dwindling petroleum industry.
Mexico and the United States signed an agreement on Monday to help U.S. firms and Mexican oil monopoly Pemex exploit deep water oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico.
The deal, negotiated last year, will lift the moratorium on oil exploration and production in the western gap portion of the Gulf.
It also sets up legal guidelines for companies to jointly develop any trans-boundary reservoirs.
[Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State]:
"Today we are doing just that, following through on the commitment that Presidents Calderon and Obama made in 2010 to improve energy security for both countries and to ensure safe, efficient, responsible exploration of the oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico."
Mexico - the world's No. 7 oil producer - is far behind the United States in exploring for deep water oil reserves and has drilled less than 20 wells in its territorial waters in the Gulf.
Pemex estimates there are more than 29 billion barrels of crude equivalent in the area, or 58 percent of the country's prospective resources.
With foreign investment in the country's lucrative oil industry limited constitutionally, President Felipe Calderon assured Mexicans that they stand to benefit from the deal.
[Felipe Calderon, Mexican President]:
"With this ends an old fear amongst many Mexicans that Mexico's oil was extracted unilaterally from the other side of the border. The best thing (from this deal) is that resources will be exploited together and profits distributed equally and fairly.
Mexico's oil industry regulator worries Pemex does not have the capability...