Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


John Holmes

First Page



The United States and Mexico recently entered into a treaty to delimit the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico, allowing both countries access to explore and exploit valuable natural resources in the Western Gulf. Included in the treaty is a ten-year moratorium on oil production within a buffer zone that encompasses transboundary reserves.

This Note explores the issues surrounding the buffer zone and suggests a model to resolve the dispute over access to transboundary reserves that will benefit both the United States and Mexico. Part 11 describes the relevant international law governing the Gulf of Mexico. Part III outlines the background and most recent treaty addressing the Western Gap, and explains the source of each country's claims to the area. Part IV provides a model for resolution by detailing the history of the Timor Gap and introducing the major provisions of the Timor Gap Treaty. Finally, Part V recommends that the United States and Mexico implement a similar joint development scheme, using the Timor Gap Treaty as a model.