Calderon makes Cuba debut

Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon will make his first trip to Cuba on 11 April to ­discuss issues including potential shared oil reserves in the easternmost Gulf of Mexico.

Calderon will also visit Colombia, where he will attend the Americas Summit in Cartagena.

The official notice to the Senate indicated that Calderon — who is limited to a six-year term as president — hopes to expand dialogue between both nations. Mexicans go to the polls in July to elect a new leader.

“In the encounter, we will talk about political and migratory ­affairs, exploitation of joint oil ­resources, trade and investment, human rights, and Latin American and Caribbean regional integration,” the notice read.

Calderon was referring to a long-neglected accord between Mexico, Cuba and the US. A final agreement over the Eastern Gap maritime boundary in the eastern Gulf of Mexico has been stuck in limbo for decades. The US Carter administration in 1977 reached an accord with Cuba over a small deep-water area of the Gulf of Mexico beyond the 200-mile (320-kilometre) ­exclusive economic zones of the US, Cuba and Mexico, but the US Senate failed to ratify the accord.

However, Mexico — and state-run Pemex — are eager to turn to the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico to boost reserves and, eventually, production.

One pillar in that strategy was Calderon’s hard-won accord with the US over the Western Gap in the Gulf of Mexico.

The recently signed transboundary agreement allows for opening up 1.5 million acres for future leasing in an area of the outer continental shelf along the Perdido fold-belt.

Cuba is understood to be eager to develop the eastern Gulf of Mexico near the Florida strait.

Cuba has already opened the door for explorers such as Repsol to drill in its 112,000 square-kilometre exclusive economic zone.


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