Despite the competition from Mexico and US offshore rounds, Brazil’s cash-strapped government again succeeded in attracting huge signature bonuses in its latest licensing round. The record US$2.4 billion raised shows that companies are willing to commit very significant portions of their exploration budgets to acquire some of the world’s most prospective acreage. Companies felt that big up front cash payments were justified by the chance to get pre-salt opportunities under the more attractive concession regime. Brazil succeeded in attracting bids from a diverse group of Majors and large E&Ps. All of the Campos basin and half of the Santos basin acreage was awarded to world-class consortia. ExxonMobil grabbed the headlines, as it did in Round 14 last year, confirming the importance of deepwater Brazil to its long-term growth strategy.