ExxonMobil Drills for Lithium in Arkansas, Targets First Production for 2027

The company aims to produce enough lithium to supply 1 million EVs annually

November 14, 2023


Global energy and petrochemicals company ExxonMobil Corporation has initiated the lithium drilling process in southwest Arkansas, in the United States, which houses significant reserves of lithium, commonly used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

By 2030, the company aims to be producing enough lithium to supply the manufacturing needs of well over a million EVs annually.

Committed to becoming the leading lithium producer, the company will utilize direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology to separate the mineral from the saltwater, which will then be converted to onsite battery-grade material. The DLE process produces fewer carbon emissions as opposed to conventional oil and gas drilling methods used to access lithium-rich saltwater from reservoirs.

“Lithium is essential to the energy transition, and ExxonMobil has a leading role to play in paving the way for electrification. 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,” said Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions.

Southwest Arkansas holds significant lithium deposits, making it a viable location for the company’s first North American lithium production phase. The company hopes domestic sourcing of lithium will contribute to energy security, support manufacturing, and advance the country’s climate policy objectives with a lesser environmental impact.

This comes after the company acquired the rights to 120,000 gross acres of the Smackover formation in southern Arkansas earlier this year. The state administration is working with ExxonMobil to successfully scale up Arkansas’ emerging lithium industry.

The demand for lithium is expected to increase by four times by 2030. Currently, all lithium is produced outside of North America. Earlier this year, India discovered its first-ever lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district.

The non-ferrous metal also underwent a price drop from ~$73,000 per MT in January to ~$34,000 in March.