In the oil industry, "wildcat" is a jargon word for an exploratory oil rig that works far ahead of the main fleet. They're the mobile frontier units, which scout into unproven territory looking for new hydrocarbon deposits to tap. It's somewhat of a blanket term, including everything from offshore semi-submersible platforms to desert drilling rigs.

Supposedly, the name itself originated from West Texas drill teams in the 1920s. American wildcats (cougars, that is) happened to be prevalent in the area where they were putting in exploratory wells, and some of the mean kitties that ventured too close to the camp were plugged and hung from the oil derricks.

Even today, some wildcat rigs have actual wild cats (cougars, tigers, etc) painted on their hulls for identification.

Wildcats are typically run by a self-contained gang of workers-- by necessity, since their drilling domain is, by definition, way the hell out in the middle of BFE. Wildcat crews have a reputation for being incredibly tough nuts, working murderous shifts, 12-hours-on/12-hours-off, 7 days a week, often for months at a time. Offshore rigs usually house between 40 and 60 crewmembers. I've read that land-based wildcats have been known to operate with as few as 10 or 20.

(Just for point of reference, the sci-fi movie The Abyss takes place on a fictional wildcat submersible called the Deepcore II.)