Nicaragua to start exploring for oil in Caribbean

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Nicaragua says it will start exploring for oil in a swath of seabed in the Caribbean Sea that an international court granted it last year after a dispute with Colombia.

Energy and Mines Minister Emilio Rappaccioli said Thursday the exploratory work in an area that is home to one of the largest barrier reefs in the Americas will start this weekend. It will be done by the U.S.-based company Noble Energy.

The International Court of Justice last year granted Nicaragua a large horseshoe-shaped area of the sea and seabed surrounding a group of tiny islands that the court granted to Colombia.

The archipelago is home to the 100-square-mile (255-square-kilometer) old Providence reef.

Environmentalists say exploratory drilling in the area will damage the environment.

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