ExxonMobil switches into Lithium
This new initiative will begin operations in southwest Arkansas, in the USA, where we will use conventional oil and gas drilling methods to access lithium-rich saltwater from reservoirs about 10,000 feet (3,000m) underground. The saltwater will then be processed using direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology in order to separate the lithium from the saltwater.
The lithium will then be converted onsite to battery-grade material, while the remaining saltwater will be re-injected into the underground reservoirs.
This process requires significantly less land and produces fewer carbon emissions than traditional Lithium production which involves hard rock mining.
First production is targeted for 2027 and by 2030, we aim to be producing enough lithium to supply the manufacturing needs of well over a million electric vehicles (EVs) per year.
“Lithium is essential to the energy transition, and ExxonMobil has a leading role to play in paving the way for electrification,” said Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions. “This landmark project applies decades of ExxonMobil expertise to unlock vast supplies of North American lithium with far fewer environmental impacts than traditional mining operations.”
ExxonMobil acquired the rights to 120,000 gross acres of the Smackover formation in southern Arkansas earlier this year.
Southwest Arkansas has a history as an oil and natural gas producer, and the region’s geology is well understood. ExxonMobil is working with local and state officials to enable the successful scale-up of Arkansas’ emerging lithium industry.
As well as EVs, lithium-ion batteries which are used in electric vehicles, consumer electronics, energy storage systems and other clean energy technologies.
Demand for lithium is expected to quadruple by 2030, and discussions are already underway with potential customers, including EV and battery manufacturers.