UPDATE 1-U.S.-Mexico deal on expanded Gulf oil drilling still in limbo

Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:19pm EDT
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* Obama heads to Mexico on Thursday; energy on the agenda

* U.S. has not implemented drilling agreement signed a year ago

* U.S. Congress now beginning to look at language

* House wants exemption from Dodd-Frank disclosure rule

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) - More than a year after the United States and Mexico signed a much-lauded deal that would remove obstacles to expanding deepwater drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the agreement has still not been finalized by the United States.

The delay, for which people close to the administration blame Congress while Republicans in Congress blame the administration, is certain to be discussed when President Barack Obama visits Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City on Thursday.

Mexico immediately ratified the pact in April 2012, but the United States has so far been unable to pass a simply worded, one-page law to put the agreement into force.

The deal, formally known as the Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement, provides legal guidelines for deepwater drilling in the 1.5 million acres (600,000 hectares) of the Gulf that straddle the U.S.-Mexico boundary.   Continued...