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ExxonMobil backs lithium plans despite downturn

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US energy company ExxonMobil has confirmed that a recent slump in the price of lithium will not deter it from moving forward with its plans to produce lithium.

Lithium is currently a vital material for making the batteries for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and global demand for it sent the price of it to record highs in 2022, around the time that Exxon announced its lithium plans.

Since then, prices have fallen by as much as 80%, as new mining operations came online as the demand for BEVs dropped – but this does not seem to be deterring Exxon.

Patrick Howarth, the company’s global business manager for lithium, spoke on the sidelines of an event this week to Bloomberg, saying:

“We’ve seen a redoubling of efforts from customers to reach out to us to engage at the most senior levels of the corporation. Potential customers are changing their demand forecast, but the consistent theme is that they need more lithium than they have today.”

ExxonMobil, which also makes the Mobil Pegasus gas engine oil, is planning to extract lithium from the Arkansas Smackover Formation.

The method it intends to use to extract the material from saltwater underground reservoirs has not been used at scale yet, but Exxon clearly believes it will be viable, with it predicting that it will be one of the ten biggest producers of lithium in the world by the end of this decade.

Howarth said that Exxon’s financial muscle would allow it to withstand significant downturns, unlike some other players.

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