For the 1950-71 period of petroleum exploration in the Powder River Basin, northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, three specific topics were investigated. First, the wildcat wells drilled during the ambient phases of exploration are estimated to have discovered 2.80 times as much petroleum per well as the wildcat wells drilled during the cyclical phases of exploration, periods when exploration plays were active. Second, the hypothesis was tested and verified that during ambient phases of exploration the discovery of deposits could be anticipated by a small but statistically significant rise in the ambient drilling rate during the year prior to the year of discovery. Closer examination of the data suggests that this anticipation effect decreases through time. Third, a regression model utilizing the two independent variables of (1) the volume of petroleum contained in each deposit discovered in a cell and the directly adjacent cells and (2) the respective depths of these deposits was constructed to predict the expected yearly cyclical wildcat drilling rate in four 30 by 30 min (approximately 860 mi2) sized cells. In two of these cells relatively large volumes of petroleum were discovered, whereas in the other two cells smaller volumes were discovered. The predicted and actual rates of wildcat drilling which occurred in each cell agreed rather closely.