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Equinor to acquire 45% stake in two Standard Lithium projects

| By Mary Bailey

Equinor Energy AS (Stavanger, Norway) has entered into an agreement with Standard Lithium Ltd. (Vancouver, B.C., Canada) to acquire a 45% share in two lithium project companies in Southwest Arkansas and East Texas. Standard Lithium recently commissioned a direct lithium extraction unit in Arkansas, marking a significant milestone for North American lithium production. Last year, the company installed a novel carbon-capture unit at its operations in Arkansas.

Sustainably produced lithium can be an enabler in the energy transition, and we believe it can become an attractive business. This investment is an option with limited upfront financial commitment. We can utilize core technologies from oil and gas in a complementary partnership to mature these projects towards a possible final investment decision,” says Morten Halleraker, senior vice president for New Business and Investments in Technology, Digital and Innovation at Equinor.

Aerial footage of the Southwest Arkansas project

Aerial view of the Southwest Arkansas project (Photo: Standard Lithium)

Under the terms of the agreement, Equinor will compensate Standard Lithium for $30 million in past costs net to the acquired interest and will carry Standard Lithium’s capex of $33 million to progress the assets towards a possible final investment decision. Equinor will make milestone payments of up to USD 70 million in aggregate to Standard Lithium if a final investment decision is taken.

Lithium is an essential mineral in the energy transition and is required to meet the projected growth in electric vehicles and broader battery energy storage. Production of lithium from subsurface reservoirs with Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technologies is emerging as a production method with a lower environmental footprint than traditional methods.

Standard Lithium and Equinor will respectively own 55% and 45% of the two project companies, with Standard Lithium retaining operatorship. Equinor will support the operator with core competencies such as subsurface and project execution capabilities.