ExxonMobil on track to become leading lithium producer

Lithium-ion batteries power EVs.
Lithium is essential to the energy transition, & ExxonMobil has a leading role to play in electrification, says Dan Ammann, President ExxonMobil Low Carbon

ExxonMobil, one of the largest international energy companies, has announced plans to become a leading producer of lithium, one of the key components in EV batteries. 

The company has acquired the rights to 120,000 gross acres of the Smackover formation in southern Arkansas, which is considered one of the most prolific lithium resources of its type in North America. 

Although first lithium production will happen in 2027, ExxonMobil aims to be producing enough lithium to supply the manufacturing needs of well over a million EVs per year by 2030.

Lithium-ion batteries are a crucial part of electric vehicles, consumer electronics, energy storage systems and other clean energy technologies — and lithium is an essential part of the batteries. ExxonMobil is one of the first major players to take advantage of US resources, with virtually all lithium today produced outside of North America, despite demand expected to quadruple by 2030.

“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. 

Ammann has been President since 2022, having previously held positions including CEO at Cruise, President and CFO at General Motors and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley. He was recently named in Time’s first TIME100 Climate list, which works to highlight 100 of the world’s most influential leaders driving climate action in business.

“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.”

Arkansas — a new hub of lithium production

With its strong history as an oil and natural gas producer, Southwest Arkansas officials are working with ExxonMobil to enable the successful scale-up of Arkansas’ emerging lithium industry.

“South Arkansas is our state’s all-around energy capital, producing oil, natural gas, and now thanks to investments like ExxonMobil’s and their combination of skills and scale, lithium,” said Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sanders took office in January 2023, and is currently the youngest governor in the US. She previously worked in leadership roles for US Senators, Governors, and presidential campaigns, and served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to 2019 — only the third woman to have done so.

“My administration supports an all-of-the-above energy strategy that guarantees good, high-paying jobs for Arkansas – and we’ll continue to cut taxes and slash red tape to make that happen.”

ExxonMobil will utilise direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology — which produces fewer carbon emissions than hard rock mining and requires significantly less land — to obtain the lithium, and then convert it to battery-grade material onsite. 

“This project is a win-win-win,” Ammann continues. 

“It’s a perfect example of how ExxonMobil can enhance North American energy security, expand supplies of a critical industrial material, and enable the continued reduction of emissions associated with transportation, which is essential to meeting society’s net-zero goals.”

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