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U.S.-Mexico agreement opens 1.5 million acres in Gulf for drilling

A milestone agreement between the U.S. and Mexican governments will allow 1.5 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to be opened for oil and gas extraction.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the agreement alongside Mexican officials, providing clarity on development of transboundary resources in the Gulf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates the region holds some 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

"The Obama administration is committed to the responsible expansion of domestic energy production," Salazar said in a statement. "This 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."

The agreement ensures compliance with applicable laws and regulations with joint inspection teams from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Mexican government. Plans will be reviewed and additional requirements could be set before development can begin.

As more exploration and drilling projects begin in the Gulf, workers will need industry-specific safety products, as well as general industry products like hard hats, work gloves, and safety glasses.