The Northern Territory Government has flagged Glyde Point near Darwin as the possible location for a big petrochemical plant.
At an oil and gas industry conference in Darwin, Chief Minister Adam Giles also announced plans to set a time limit for oil and gas companies to develop exploration leases or lose them.
He said "use it or lose it" rules for oil and gas exploration licences would ensure companies don't just bank the leases.
"We want to get to an environment where we develop those exploration leases, not just continue exploring," he said.
Territory Infrastructure Minister Peter Styles will inspect a petrochemical plant in Singapore later this week as part of early investigations of a similar project in the Top End.
Mr Styles says the inspection was arranged after the head of multi-national business giant Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, introduced him to the chief executive of the Singapore Economic Board.
Mr Styles says a petrochemical plant near Darwin would boost the Territory's economy and involve thousands of jobs.
He says he is keen to find ways to attract a company like Dow Chemical to build a plant in the Top End.
"It is essential that we actually understand what the petrochemical process is, how important it is and what we need to do to try and attract people like Dow Chemicals," he said.
Mr Liveris, who was born in Darwin, has previously expressed an interest in the possibility of large-scale projects in the Top End.
The major petroleum industry conference is being held over the next two days in Darwin and about a thousand delegates are attending.
The South East Asia Australia Offshore Conference (SEAAOC) will focus on major oil and gas projects in northern Australia, industry prospects and market developments.
Territory Mines Minister Willem Westra Van Holthe says the big players in oil and gas will be able to sit down and discuss potential projects with government geologists.
"This is all a part of a strategy to attract investors and companies who want to explore to the Northern Territory," he said.
"This gives them the opportunity to come here and learn about the prospectivity of the Northern Territory, so that they have got a better understanding of how far their investment dollars will go and where they want to spend their money."
The conference includes speakers from Inpex, Santos and the Italian energy company ENI, which all have existing links with the Territory.
Santos is Australia's largest domestic gas producer.
Santos vice-president for the Northern Territory and Western Australia, John Anderson, says his company is developing four major projects in Australia.
"We have got one LNG plant on line, which is here in Darwin; we've got two being built at the moment which, for a company of our size, is quite remarkable," he said.
"Then there is a fourth project ... offshore [of the] Northern Territory, which has not been sanctioned yet ... Bonaparte LNG, which we hope will be the fourth project to come through."
Inpex executives say they hope to double production within a decade, based largely on growth of the Icthys project, which will pipe gas from offshore of north-west Australia to a processing plant being built in Darwin.
Inpex external affairs manager Bill Townsend says the $33 billion Icthys project has so far proven to be a fantastic move for the company.
He says it is on track and on budget, with a promising outlook.
"As a company, it is the crown jewel for us," he said.
"We really want to double our production in the next ten years, and central to that strategy is going to be the Icthys project."
Mr Giles used his speech at the conference to encourage Woodside Petroleum to follow in the footsteps of Japanese company Inpex.
Woodside had planned to pipe LNG from the Browse Basin off Western Australia's north coast to James Price Point on the mainland, but has decided to go with offshore floating LNG platform processing technology .
Mr Giles said Woodside could instead pipe gas to Darwin, where onshore developments are welcome, and it could use the same method as the Inpex project.
"We have already seen, through the Inpex pipeline, the creation of a 5km-wide pipeline corridor," he said.
"Woodside's potential project is about 40 kilometres down the road, if you want to use that sort of language."
Copyright 2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published Sept. 11, 2013, by ABC Premium News.)