Exxon Joins Hunt for Lithium in Bet on EV Boom – by Benoît Morenne and Collin Eaton (Wall Street Journal – May 21, 2023)


Oil giant quietly laid plans this year for producing mineral in Arkansas

Exxon Mobil is bracing for a future far less dependent on gasoline by drilling for something other than oil: lithium. The Texas oil giant recently purchased drilling rights to a sizable chunk of Arkansas land from which it aims to produce the mineral, a key ingredient in batteries for electric cars, cellphones and laptops, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lithium is far removed from the fossil-fuel business, which has powered Exxon’s profits for more than a century, and signals the company’s assessment that demand for internal combustion engines could soon peak, the people said. It would also mark a return for the company to an industry it helped pioneer almost 50 years ago.

Exxon bought 120,000 gross acres in the Smackover formation of southern Arkansas from an exploration company called Galvanic Energy, according to some of the people. The price tag was more than $100 million, people familiar with the matter said, a relatively small transaction for a company of Exxon’s size.

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