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Occidental Petroleum, Berkshire Hathaway form JV to extract lithium

4th June 2024

By: Reuters

  

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Occidental Petroleum said on Tuesday it had entered into a joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway's energy unit to extract lithium.

The energy producer said it would use its technology to extract and commercially produce high-purity lithium compounds at Berkshire's geothermal facility in California.

Lithium is the key metal used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and energy grid storage.

Oil majors are investing in the electrification sector as governments in the United States and Europe establish programs to promote the wider use of EVs and reduce fossil-fuel consumption.

Exxon Mobil has plans to start producing lithium from sub-surface wells by 2027, while European oil rivals BP and Shell have invested in EV charging stations as part of their energy transition strategies.

Occidental said the project would demonstrate the feasibility of using its unit's direct lithium extraction technology to produce lithium in an environmentally safe manner.

BHE Renewables, Berkshire's energy unit, operates 10 geothermal power plants in California's Imperial Valley that can process 50 000 gallons of lithium-rich brine per minute to produce 345 MW of clean energy.

Upon successful demonstration, BHE Renewables plans to build, own and operate commercial lithium production facilities in California's Imperial Valley.

Edited by Reuters

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