In Arkansas, our community ties are blossoming

Key takeaways:

  • Community engagement is part of our new lithium business.
  • Examples include our sponsorship of this year's Blossom Festival.
  • Rooting for “Lithi-YUM,” our steak cook-off team.

In his 17 years with ExxonMobil, Remi Loiseau has worked on energy projects around the world. But last week, he was passing out steak to the crowd at the Magnolia Blossom Festival and World Championship Steak Cook-off – a lively two-day event that draws thousands each spring to the picturesque downtown of Magnolia, Arkansas.

Why? Because Remi leads our work in Arkansas to build a new lithium business and participating in the festival was an opportunity for our team to help people learn more about our plans and activity. 

It was also a blast. Remi and his colleagues enjoyed the arts and entertainment, answered questions and cheered on our team in the festival’s steak cook-off: the aptly named “Lithi-YUM.”

ExxonMobil sponsored the Blossom Festival for the first time this year – a sign of our deepening ties with communities in the southwest part of the state. That’s where we plan to produce lithium from saltwater brines deep underground – enough for about 1 million electric vehicles a year by 2030.

“Everyone here’s excited about lithium and the economic opportunities it could provide,” said Rachel Jenkins, executive director of the Magnolia-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. “We’re happy to have folks from ExxonMobil at the Blossom Festival, pitching in to help make it a success.”

Remi Loiseau in action at the Magnolia event.

As Remi put it: “The festival’s a great example of how we don’t just work in a community…we work to become part of a community."

Other examples in Arkansas include: 

  • We created a $100,000 endowment for nonprofits that support education, public safety and quality-of-life initiatives in Lafayette and Columbia counties.
  • We delivered updates to Rotary clubs, schools, the Leadership Arkansas program and more – including a town hall in Lewisville, where we fielded questions from an audience of more than 100 community members. 
  • We sponsored a holiday toy drive that collected more than 150 toys and gift cards for children in the Magnolia area.
  • We sponsored Southern Arkansas University’s SOAR Sustainability Conference, where we shared information about our lithium activities. 


Upgrading to snake boots 

A North Carolina native, Remi’s the father of two boys and self-described “outdoor adventurer” who loves activities like hiking, camping and rock-climbing. 

He’s enjoyed hiking through southwest Arkansas while scouting potential lithium project sites, but admits the area’s dense woods prompted a change of footwear: “I had to trade my hiking boots for snake boots!”

Meanwhile, our lithium work in Arkansas continues to progress. Our appraisal well program should be completed this summer, while our project teams continue to advance engineering and execution planning. Both are critical early steps in helping Arkansas become a global leader in the lithium industry. 

While lithium’s new for us, our goal in Arkansas is the same as it is everywhere: We seek to be a trusted partner that creates good jobs and operates in a safe and environmentally responsible fashion.

Read more about our community activities in Arkansas here.


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