Cautious optimism returns to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Total bid amounts increased year-over-year for the first time in five years. Operators offered over US$315 million for 163 blocks, an increase of 76% and 27% from 2016. Shell was the largest spender of the sale for the second straight year, bidding a total of US$55.9 million. Statoil and Hess surprised as second and third highest with total bonuses of approximately US$44 million.