Norwegian Energy Giant now in Arkansas

Why are the Norwegians investing in US lithium?

Norwegian Energy Giant now in Arkansas

⚡ Five Second Summary:

Equinor, a major Norwegian energy company, recently invested over $130 million for a 45% stake in two lithium brine projects in Arkansas, marking a shift towards clean energy. This follows ExxonMobil's earlier entry into the same region. 

🌎 The Map


🤔 What's Happening:

  • US lithium demand is projected to increase by nearly 500% by 2030 (Source)

  • ExxonMobil's presence in the region underscores growing interest in lithium from brines in Arkansas.

  • Equinor's investment could be setting a valuation benchmark for lithium acreage in the region.

🔢 Numbers + Facts:

  • A US$130M investment was made by Equinor's for the 45% stake in the two lithium projects owned by Standard Lithium.

  • Equinor has a market cap of $127 billion and is majority-owned by the Norwegian government.

  • ExxonMobil paid at least US$100 million for its projects in Arkansas in early 2023.

🔮 Looking Ahead:

  • The trend of oil supermajors diversifying into clean energy projects will likely intensify as pressure builds on these companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

  • The Smackover region could become a vital lithium source for the US, with new or planned gigafactories clustered in the midwest in close proximity to Arkansas.

  • The government of Arkansas has made lithium a major part of its economic agenda, but has yet to fully flesh out its regulatory environment for the rapidly growing industry. (Source)

📈 The Company: Pantera Minerals (ASX: PFE)

Market Cap: $14.2M | Share Price: $0.053 | Industry: Lithium

Pantera Minerals (ASX: PFE) is a micro cap lithium brine exploration and development company which is operating in South West Arkansas, USA.

The Smackover Formation is home to large lithium companies such as Standard Lithium, Albemarle as well as oil giant, Exxon Mobil - which are all investing large amounts of money, seeking to produce lithium from this area.

How does PFE fit into the story?

PFE’s project is in the Smackover region of Arkansas, - Equinor's $130m investment in two projects are also in this area across Arkansas and east Texas which borders the US state.

Like Equinor and ExxonMobil, PFE intends to use DLE technology (Direct Lithium Extraction), to extract lithium from brine found underground in what used to be one of the most prolific oil regions in the US. 

While DLE technology is emerging, famous investors like Bill Gates and others have invested large sums of money to advance the technology.

PFE's plans to re-enter a well to extract a brine sample and determine the lithium concentration.

This sample will be used to determine how much lithium can be extracted from these old oil wells - the Smackover region of Arkansas is home to some of the highest concentrations of lithium in brines found anywhere in the US.

📰 Mainstream Media Coverage

“This alliance is expected to significantly mitigate project execution risks, particularly in the development phase at the south-west Arkansas site.”

Mining Technology

“The partnership aims to accelerate the development of Standard Lithium’s large-scale, sustainable lithium projects in the Smackover Formation.”

  • Global Mining Review