There is a surprising new player in the global lithium sector, and its appearance in the industry serves as proof that even fossil fuel titans are considering a major paradigm shift into renewables.
In an announcement made on Monday, November 13th, Exxon Mobil presented its plans for the subsurface mining of lithium, an initiative set to begin in 2027. According to Dan Ammann, president of the Low Carbon business unit at the oil giant, the company sees the lithium scene as an opportunity for companies throughout the globe as there is a serious need to increase production of the vital metal.
Ammann, however, has not disclosed how much the firm plans to invest in lithium extraction and production, let alone when they expect the initiative to turn a profit.
Exxon’s use of subsurface wells means that it will be extracting lithium out of brine pumped from subterranean deposits. The company’s facility is located in Arkansas, a state that claims to have numerous lithium deposits. It is also a step towards building up the United States’ domestic lithium resources.
The oil giant is not doing this initiative on its own, however. The company has partnered with Tetra Technologies, and the joint venture will see any lithium sourced from the wells under the brand Mobil Lithium.
Not the Only One
Exxon’s lithium plans are laudable, but they are far from the only petroleum company that is segueing from fossil fuels to renewables. In fact, a number of major petroleum players have made investments in the field of electrification in the United States, as well as in Europe. This is meant to promote a greater rate of adoption of electric vehicles among the general public on top of reducing the overall use of fossil fuels.
In keeping with their respective energy transition strategies, companies like British Petroleum and Shell invested in a series of electric charging stations throughout Europe. It’s a move that has gained the approval of investors, many of whom want to see big players in the fuel sector stepping up for renewables.