Exxon Targeting 2026 for Lithium Production in Arkansas for EV Batteries

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Exxon Mobil is making a foray into the electric vehicle (EV) market, unveiling its lithium strategy aimed at initiating lithium production in Arkansas by 2026. This exclusive information comes from Reuters with direct knowledge of Exxon’s plans. The company, which played a pivotal role in inventing the lithium-ion battery in the 1970s but subsequently distanced itself from the technology, is now reentering the scene with a groundbreaking initiative named “Project Evergreen.”

Partnering with Tetra Technologies, Exxon plans to produce at least 10,000 metric tons of lithium annually in Arkansas by 2026. The scale of this production would be sufficient to manufacture around 100,000 EV batteries. This move aligns with Exxon’s broader commitment to exploring emerging technologies that aim to enhance global lithium production by extracting the metal from salty brine deposits found worldwide.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported Exxon’s agreement with Tetra to develop over 6,100 lithium-rich acres in Arkansas. The company has been actively drilling wells in the Smackover Formation, a geological expanse abundant in lithium- and bromine-rich brine. In addition to traditional extraction methods, Exxon has been experimenting with unproven direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology, a crucial component for future commercial operations.

Notably, Exxon’s shift into lithium production comes at a time when traditional oil companies are under increasing pressure to reduce carbon emissions. Exxon CEO Darren Woods acknowledged the promise of the lithium sector during an investor call, emphasizing the company’s intent to leverage its expertise effectively.

While Exxon remains tight-lipped about the specific DLE technology it intends to deploy, the company has reportedly engaged in talks with other industry players, including Chevron, International Battery Metals, and EnergySource Minerals. This strategic move into lithium production allows Exxon to potentially introduce a new revenue stream with minimal additional costs.

In addition to the Tetra partnership, Exxon controls over 100,000 acres in Arkansas acquired from Galvanic Energy, with plans to commence lithium production by 2027. However, regulatory challenges loom as the state’s royalty structure for bromine, not lithium, presents a hurdle that could delay development. The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission has signaled intentions to address this matter through hearings.

Exxon’s proactive approach to lithium production is underscored by its attendance at the upcoming Benchmark Minerals conference in Los Angeles. This marks the company’s debut at a major critical minerals conference, signaling its commitment to playing a prominent role in the evolving landscape of EV battery production.

Source: Reuters


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