Great ResignationDiversity and InclusionCompensationCEO DailyCFO DailyModern Board

The U.S. Is Rushing to Close This ‘Doughnut Hole’ Deal Before Trump Takes Office

January 18, 2017, 7:32 AM UTC
One Year Anniversary Of BP Oil Spill Approaches
GRAND ISLE, LA - APRIL 13: The sun sets beyond the beach as waves wash up from the Gulf of Mexico April 13, 2011 in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Oil from the BP oil spill washed up onto this beach, one of the hardest hit areas, in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion which killed eleven crew members. 206 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the Gulf of Mexico until the BP well was finally sealed. Residents report that oil still washes up onto the beach after storms. April 20th marks the one-year anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama Getty Images

The United States, Mexico, and Cuba aim to sign an agreement determining territorial water limits before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20, three diplomatic officials familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The accord will cover the Eastern Gap of the Gulf of Mexico, an area believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits. The three countries’ overlapping claims in the Eastern Gap had created what is known as a “Doughnut Hole.”

Trilateral discussions begun in mid-2016 on the maritime territorial issue were concluded by the end of the year.

One of the three officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the deal could be signed on Wednesday.

Cuba and the United States last week sealed an agreement to jointly prevent, contain, and clean up oil and other toxic spills in the Gulf of Mexico, as the two sides seek to conclude deals that will make it harder for Trump to reverse a thaw in relations begun two years ago.

Trump has threatened to put an end to the fragile detente unless Havana makes more concessions.

International law gives countries the right to any resources found in the sea within 200 miles of their territory. But when the areas overlap, as they do in the case of the Eastern Gap, countries first must reach an agreement to develop them.

Mexico already has a cross-border agreement with the United States on developing potential oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico, but not with Cuba.