Uruguay submitted a summary of the official request to extend the limits of its continental shelf from 200 to 350 miles, --in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea--, to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, CLCS, which is holding its 24th session in New York.
The main submission with information on the limits of the Uruguayan continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines to measure the breath of the territorial sea, including charts and coordinates, and which took years to collect and elaborate, was completed last April.
The current summary is intended for the provisional agenda of the Commission which is holding a round of meetings that begun last August 10 and will extend until September 11.
If the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf finally agrees to the submission, which could take years, Uruguay’s exclusive economic rights on the sea bed could add to the current 120.684 square kilometres another 103.000 sq. km, which would be almost 50% larger than the country’s territory.
The presentation in New York was done by a delegation made up of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Ernesto Agazzi, Deputy Foreign Affairs minister Pedro Vaz and the head of Aquatic Resources Daniel Montiel.
Uruguay has a special interest in expanding its continental shelf rights since it is currently involved in the search for oil and gas in the so called Punta del Este basin.
The following step, according to a release from the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is for the CLCS to name a sub-commission that will begin the process of verification of the data submitted by Uruguay.
The submission to extend the Uruguayan continental shelf from 200 to 350 nautical miles from the baselines has the full support of all political parties with parliament representation. Uruguay is scheduled to begin awarding oil and gas exploration licences in the Punta del Este basin to Brazil’s Petrobras, and Spain’s YPF next October.
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