Exxon Makes Move for Lithium Extraction in the U.S.

Exxon has secured drilling rights to a large area in the U.S. state of Arkansas from where it aims to extract lithium, as the company has started to prepare for a future that will be significantly less reliant on fossil fuel revenues. Lithium is far removed from the fossil-fuel business, which has powered Exxon’s profits for over a century. It signals the company’s assessment that demand for internal combustion engines could soon peak.

The energy giant has acquired 120,000 gross acres from Oklahoma-based exploration company Galvanic Energy in the Smackover formation of southern Arkansas, for more than $100 million.

Galvanic said last year the prospect could have 4 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent, which is enough to power 50 million electric vehicles.

Exxon has plans to spend $17 billion through 2027 on cutting carbon emissions and developing low-carbon technologies.

Exxon’s CEO, Woods, said last year that heavy industry, heavy transportation, and the production of chemicals would drive demand for fossil fuels for decades to come.

Lithium production would also diversify Exxon’s portfolio and expose them to a market that is expanding quickly. The company is setting up other facets of its operations to support electric vehicles.

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