In a keynote address on oil and gas exploration and development in the Territory, Vatskalis said the Martin Government was committed to promoting the Territory's upstream and downstream petroleum potential both onshore and offshore.
He reiterated Chief Minister Clare Martin's call for developing a stronger value-adding downstream gas sector and said Territory and Federal officials were discussing ways of providing incentives to encourage projects in areas such as gas-to-liquids, ammonia, methanol and olefins.
"There are some very big opportunities in downstream natural gas development here in the Territory," he said.
Vatskalis pointed out that the Territory was now a liquefied natural gas producer and said Darwin LNG could be expected to expand in the coming decade.
"The future looks very bright, with the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing a massive increase in expenditure in the
petroleum exploration sector.
"In the March quarter, the Territory posted a 200% expenditure increase and ranked second behind Western Australia as a prime petroleum exploration destination.
"The vision of a vibrant and productive petroleum industry for the Territory is really starting to unfold. After many years of promise, real and tangible progress is now being made."
The Excellence in Upstream Energy conference is an opportunity for oil and gas companies to profile current and future projects to explorers and investors. It also provides exploration and production information for the resources sector.