The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would open 1.5 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico along the U.S.-Mexican maritime border to energy exploration.
Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., who introduced the bill, said the measure would open up parts of the gulf said to contain 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
"By passing this transboundary agreement, the House has furthered its commitment to create jobs though energy," he said in a floor statement Thursday. "This legislation implements a first of its kind agreement with the government of Mexico to develop shared resources located between our two countries in the Gulf."
The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group representing the oil industry, said the legislation would exempt companies from Securities and Exchange Commission requirements to report payments made to foreign governments for energy development.
"The rule could cost American jobs by limiting our access to energy resources abroad," API federal relations chief Khary Cauthen said in a statement.
The White House said the legislation would not likely pass President Obama's desk because of transparency issues.
API challenged the SEC on the rule. It was designed to combat a so-called resource curse, whereby developing countries may use natural resources to prop up corrupt regimes.