Premium technological discovery volume is that achieved in excess of the volume to be anticipated on the basis of price alone and which can be attributed solely to technological advance.Three degrees of freedom, area, method, and objective, are recognized for the prospector, and these are fixed by choice in any prospecting venture. Continued operation with these three degrees fixed inevitably leads to diminishing returns and, finally, to marginal operations wherein price becomes the primary motivation.Under such conditions in the past, unfixing even one degree of freedom has led to marked surges in the discovery rate, i.e., to premium technological discovery. Such discovery surges have occurred more than once in the same petroleum province and, not infrequently, the magnitude of the surge has increased rather than decreased with time.Considerations are presented for a return to premium technological discovery within the United States. Such a return for the method now in most general use, the reflection seismograph, can be expected to follow from unfixing the area degree of freedom through initiating prospecting along the continental shelf. However, such a return for prospecting as a whole, and probably of even greater magnitude, can be anticipated to follow from unfixing the method degree of freedom through widespread application of novelty in prospecting methods.

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