The ‘Doughnut Hole’: Mexico, U.S. and Cuba discuss who owns potentially oil-rich waters in Gulf

Delegates of Mexico, the United States and Cuba met on Wednesday July to discuss the limits of the Western Polygon, an area in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico that has oil and gas deposits but no clear boundaries, two sources close to the discussion told Reuters.

Talks about who owns what in the “Doughnut Hole” were spurred after Cuba and the United States announced they would restore diplomatic ties in late 2014.

International law gives countries the right to any resources found in the sea within 200 miles of their territory. But when areas overlap, as they do in the case of this resource-rich Doughnut Hole, countries have to come up with an agreement.


The sources said talks would be of a technical character and would continue over several days this week.

“The conversations are looking for agreement to demarcate the borders and see what will happen with this area,” one source said.

Mexico already has an agreement with the United States, but not with Cuba.

After a landmark energy reform put in place in 2014, Mexico is looking to attract more private investment to exploit possible deep-water oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico.

(Writing by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Leslie Adler for Reuters)