After three years of negotiations, Uruguay finally signed an agreement with the United Nations which extends Uruguay’s continental shelf from 200 to 350 nautical miles.

The additional 150 nautical miles of underwater land opens up the possibility for Uruguay to move forward with offshore drilling activities on an additional 80,500 square kilometers of underwater territory.

According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, every nation has a continental shelf extending a maximum of 200 nautical miles from the nation’s coastline, so the agreement makes Uruguay the first country in Latin America to have clearly defined the true external boundary of its continental shelf.

It opens up the possibility to extract more resources for the country,” said Uruguay Chancellor Luis Almagro whose country first opened the bid process for half of the country’s offshore blocks in 2012 to companies like Petrobras, Galp, YPF, BP and BG (UK), Total (France) and Tullow Oil (Ireland).

Through a combination of conventional and renewable sources like solar, wind and biomass, Uruguay has previously announced an ambitious goal of becoming a net exporter of energy by 2016. (Full Story in Spanish)

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