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House advances plan to unleash drilling on US-Mexico maritime border

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The House of Representatives advanced two items on the oil industry’s wish list Thursday, by passing legislation that would unleash drilling in the Western Gap area of the Gulf of Mexico and waive new financial reporting requirements on companies’ foreign dealmaking.

The legislation passed 256-171 would implement a one-year-old agreement between the United States and Mexico that sets the framework for oil and gas development along the two countries’ maritime boundary. Although Mexico ratified the deal in April 2012, Congress has not acted on it — despite oil companies’ zeal to develop the region.

That part of the measure has bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and the blessing of the White House. The Obama administration inked the international pact in February 2012 and said in a statement of policy this week that implementing the agreement is key to unlocking nearly 1.5 million acres of the outer continental shelf for drilling.

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