ExxonMobil is venturing into lithium production, targeting a significant market share by initiating its first operation in southern Arkansas. With lithium's rising demand in the tech and electric vehicle sectors, ExxonMobil aims to begin production by 2027. By 2030, the company anticipates producing enough lithium to power over 1 million electric vehicles annually. From a report: Earlier this year, ExxonMobil purchased 120,000 acres of lithium-rich land spanning a geologic formation -- called the Smackover Formation -- in Arkansas. To access the lithium, the company will first drill 10,000 feet below the surface using gas and oil machinery. From there, it will then use direct lithium extraction (DLE) to separate the lithium from the saltwater it's mixed with. Once that's done, ExxonMobil will inject the saltwater back into the ground.
ExxonMobil says the DLE process "produces fewer carbon emissions than hard rock mining and requires significantly less land." The company will produce the battery-grade lithium on-site, which it will call Mobil Lithium. This technically isn't the first time ExxonMobil is getting involved in the battery business, as the company manufactured the first lithium-ion battery in the 1970s.