The resources minister is pushing for more NT oil.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan has declared the NT's Beetaloo Basin “the best immediate prospect” for a major new oil and gas hub.

“Twenty years ago we had 96 per cent of our petroleum produced domestically in a raw product form,” Senator Canavan said in Darwin.

“Now we can only meet about half of our petroleum needs from domestic sources of production, and in a continent as large as ours I hope we can find another oil and gas province to replace [Tasmania's] Bass Strait.

“The best immediate prospect we have, across all of the onshore and offshore areas, is in the Beetaloo Basin, and that's fantastic news for the Northern Territory.”

Oil and gas companies with exploration permission in the area stretching from Mataranka to Elliott have briefed investors that they will target “liquid-rich” shales.

Senator Canavan says there are “a lot of people excited about the potential for liquid production in the shale fields of the Beetaloo Basin”.

“And that could help return us to self-sustainability in oil, which is very important for our national security,” he said.

Origin Energy is planning to carry out an appraisal “targeting liquids rich gas” in the Kyalla and Velkerri rock formations in the Beetaloo Basin mid-year.

Falcon Oil and Gas has also announced it is assessing the potential of the liquids-rich Kyalla and Velkerri formations.