(The Center Square) – ExxonMobil will begin drilling for lithium in Southwest Arkansas in 2027, which could make the state the home of one of the largest lithium suppliers in North America, the company said Monday.
Lithium is a main component of electric batteries and ExxonMobil plans to be a leading supplier of up to 1 million electric vehicles by 2030, according to the company.
“Lithium is essential to the energy transition, and ExxonMobil has a leading role to play in paving the way for electrification,” said Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions. “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.”
State officials said Monday the drilling operation will improve Arkansas’ economy.
“When we utilize what’s under our own two feet, we can create jobs, expand our economy, and make life more affordable for Arkansans, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-AR, said. “ExxonMobil’s lithium well will enhance the Natural State’s role in achieving American-led energy innovation and help curb inflation caused by high energy prices.”
The southwestern portion of the state is known for its energy-producing capabilities, according to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She said she would “slash the red tape” to make the project happen.
ExxonMobil plans to use conventional oil and gas drilling methods to reach the lithium reserves, which are about 10,000 feet underground. The company will separate the saltwater from the resources and inject it back into the ground, which will produce fewer carbon emissions and use less land, according to the company.