Producing oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico requires rights to extract these resources from beneath the ocean floor and companies bid into the market for those rights. The top bids are sometimes significantly larger than the next highest bids, but it’s not always clear why this differential exists and some companies seemingly overbid by large margins. This team will consult with professionals at ExxonMobil to curate and analyze historical bid data from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that contains information on company bid history, infrastructure, wells, and seismic survey data as well as data from the companies themselves and geopolitical events. The stretch goal of the team will be to see if they can uncover the rationale behind historic bidding patterns. What do the highest bidders know that other bidders to not (if anything)? What characteristics might incentivize overbidding to minimize the risk of losing the right to produce (i.e. ambiguity aversion)?