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Our first lithium well – but “not our first rodeo” 

Key takeaways:

  • Work's underway in Arkansas on our plan to produce lithium for electric vehicles
  • Our lithium wells are leveraging technologies ExxonMobil’s proven over decades

Article Jan. 18, 2024

Dylan Vint got married in December to his high school sweetheart, Brooke. But the young engineer also had another milestone to celebrate last month: the success of ExxonMobil’s first lithium well. 

Dylan’s the lead drilling engineer for our lithium project in Arkansas. It’s an early step in our landmark plan to become a significant producer of the metal – a key material for electric vehicle batteries – by tapping lithium-rich brines thousands of feet underground. 

It’s a relatively new way to produce lithium, with less environmental impact than current methods like hard-rock mining. Some have called it a potential game-changer for the lithium industry. 

But as Dylan notes, the drilling and well construction techniques we’re using in our lithium project are very similar to ones we use to extract oil and natural gas – a process we’ve refined and improved over decades.

“This may be our first lithium well, but it’s not our first rodeo,” he said. “We're using the same tactics, the same tools, the same technologies. We’re just going after a different resource.” 

And that’s an advantage. Because we’re experts in operating wells safely and efficiently. Last year alone, we drilled 400+ wells around the world – more than one a day on average!

A successful start

This advantage is on display in Arkansas, where work was safely completed on our first lithium well, with more already underway. 

These “appraisal wells” are gathering information about underground reservoirs, and sampling the brine from which lithium can be extracted. Commercial production is targeted for 2027. By 2030, we aim to produce enough lithium to support the manufacture of about 1 million EVs. 

We all think it’s exciting to be applying our drilling and wells expertise to delivering a new resource, one that will aid in the energy transition.
Dylan Vint

Lead drilling engineer for our lithium project in Arkansas


All these wells are designed and executed by our Global Low Carbon Solutions & Well Management wells team. Collectively, these men and women have more than 100 years’ experience in both onshore and offshore operations. Dylan said their wisdom and mentorship has been essential to the safe and successful execution of our lithium program. 

“We all think it’s exciting to be applying our drilling and wells expertise to delivering a new resource, one that will aid in the energy transition,” Dylan said.

He said the team also appreciates how welcoming the local Arkansas community has been (“at Thanksgiving, they brought us pies!”). The warmth’s been reciprocal – ExxonMobil employees and contractors organized a holiday toy drive that collected more than 150 toys and gift cards that we donated to the Magnolia Housing Authority

An unexpected career twist 

A Houston native, Dylan said his first exposure to the industry was an internship he landed at XTO after attending a career fair at Baylor University, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering. “I had no idea I wanted to work in oil and gas, but they sent me to the Permian, and I fell in love with it,” he said.

But he’s also still a bit amazed at the shift into a new resource: “If someone had told me that someday I’d be drilling for lithium, I would have laughed. It blows my mind.” 

Click here to learn more about ExxonMobil’s lithium plan, and click here to learn more about our lithium solutions for businesses. 

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Making progress on lithium  and making a difference

Making progress on lithium … and making a difference

Key takeaways:

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  • We're making fast progress on our lithium plan
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Faces and places: Our Arkansas lithium project

Our very first lithium project is made possible by a team of experts from across our company. Their groundbreaking effort in southwest Arkansas will provide more lithium for electric vehicle batteries, with less environmental impact. They’re also unlocking a potentially significant new supply of lithium in North America, which today produces relatively little of this critical mineral.

Lithium Article Nov. 13, 2023

Lithium

Lithium is a key component of electric vehicle batteries. To meet projected growth in EVs, the world will need a lot more lithium. ExxonMobil plans to become of leading supplier of lithium, using a modern process that has significantly less environmental impact than traditional mining.