Today’s Key Takeaways: Arkansas lithium production hotspot. Tight supply keeps oil above $80/barrel. Russia advances first floating LNG in Arctic. Chinese-manufactured solar panels piling up in Europe. Public rejection of green transition growing quickly.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
Arkansas Could Lead America’s Lithium Production Boom
Tsvetana Paraskova, OilPrice.Com, July 23, 2023
- Mining firms Standard Lithium and Tetra Technologies, as well as supermajor ExxonMobil, are looking to build lithium extraction capacities in Arkansas.
- The bromine-rich brines in the Smackover formation in southwestern Arkansas contain as much as 445 parts per million lithium.
- Standard Lithium says it has developed a fully integrated, start to finish, DLE process to selectively extract lithium from Smackover brine and produce battery-quality lithium compounds.
Southwestern Arkansas could be the lithium production hotspot of America the way the Permian is now for oil, as mining companies and oil and gas supermajors are looking to tap more of the domestic U.S. lithium resources to reduce dependence on China.
Mining firms Standard Lithium and Tetra Technologies, as well as supermajor ExxonMobil, are looking to build lithium extraction capacities in Arkansas and source one of the most important metals for the energy transition via a process called direct lithium extraction (DLE).
The bromine-rich brines in the Smackover formation in southwestern Arkansas contain as much as 445 parts per million lithium, according to the Office of the State Geologist.
Standard Lithium says it has developed a fully integrated, start to finish, DLE process to selectively extract lithium from Smackover brine and produce battery-quality lithium compounds. Its chief executive Robert Mintak told The Wall Street Journal that the Smackover formation could be the Permian of U.S. lithium production, with better economics.
Oil prices steady as rate hikes expected, supply tight
Noah Browning, Reuters, July 24, 2023
Oil prices were steady on Monday as traders expected more rate hikes from U.S. and European central banks, but tightening supply and hopes for Chinese stimulus underpinned Brent at well above $80 a barrel.
Brent crude futures rose 4 cents, to $81.11 a barrel by 0644 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $77.11 a barrel, also up 4 cents.
The benchmarks rose 1.5% and 2.2% respectively last week, their fourth straight of week of gains, as supply is expected to tighten following OPEC+ cuts. Fighting also escalated last week in Ukraine after Russia withdrew from a U.N.-brokered safe sea corridor agreement for grain exports.
Russia’s expansive Arctic industry make big advance as first floating LNG platform sets out from Belokamenka towards Gydan
Atle Staalesen, The Barents Observer, July 23, 2023
Shortly after Vladimir Putin paid a visit to the LNG construction center, the 640,000 ton installation started its voyage from Murmansk to the port of Utrenneye in the Gulf of Ob.
It was a historical moment for Novatek and the Russian natural gas industry. Six years after construction started on the western shore of the Kola Bay, the first ever gravity-based structure for production of LNG left the plant in Belokamenka and set out into the Barents Sea.
Vladimir Putin arrived in the construction center located just few kilometers from the Murmansk City in the afternoon of the 20th of July and was shown around on site by Novatek leader Leonid Mikhelson. In the group was also Murmansk Governor Andrei Chibis and Northwest Russia presidential envoy Aleksandr Gutsan.
“I want to congratulate company Novatek and Leonid Viktorovich Mikhelson with the development of its projects – huge and very important projects for the energy industry and the economy of the country,” Putin underlined in an address.
A hoarding situation: European warehouses storing €7-billion worth of solar panels – report
Staff Writer, Mining.Com, July 23, 2023
A recent report by business intelligence firm Rystad Energy reveals that Chinese-manufactured solar photovoltaic panels are piling up in European warehouses, with approximately 40 gigawatts-direct current (GWdc) of capacity in storage – the same amount installed across the continent in 2022.
According to Rystad, the solar panels in storage are worth about €7 billion and could generate enough electricity to power 20 million homes per year. In addition to this, the consultancy expects the build-up to grow this year, with 100 GWdc of solar capacity in storage by the end of 2023.
“Europe’s spending on solar imports has almost quadrupled in the last five years, surging from €5.5 billion in 2018 to more than €20 billion last year, while the supply source has become increasingly concentrated,” the dossier reads. “An overwhelming €18.5 billion, equal to 91% of all PV import expenditure, was spent on Chinese products, as volatile panel prices impacted buying decisions.”
In the report, Rystad’s experts explain that the concentration of Chinese imports is due to the Asian giant’s dominance of both the production and processing of polysilicon into PV modules, which allows manufacturers to undercut the competition on price. In fact, panels made in China often cost as little as two-thirds of European-manufactured capacity, which was forced to raise prices in 2021 and 2022 due to a critical shortage of solar-grade polysilicon – a crucial raw material in manufacturing PV modules.
“NIMBY” May Hurt Biden’s Green Transition
Institute for Energy Research, July 20, 2023
“Not in my back yard” (NIMBY) is having an effect on President Biden’s “green transition,” where many property owners do not want high-powered transmission lines, wind turbines, or solar panels in their back yard. Now, it appears that battery factories are also in that category. Ford is planning to build an EV battery factory in Michigan that promises to employ 2,500 people. Factory revival is a centerpiece of “Bidenomics,” and the Biden administration has pushed through legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act, Infrastructure bill and CHIPS Act that inject direct funding and tax incentives for manufacturing construction targeted at things the government wants people to buy. After Ford’s battery project was announced in February, residents complained and signs on roadsides read: “Stop the Megasite.” Opponents contend the battery project was rushed through final approvals and could cause environmental damage as the factory is being built on former farm fields and woodlands next to a winding river just outside the city. Residents worry that battery manufacturing could lead to accidents, which could allow lithium—a volatile element–to leach into the groundwater.
- Public rejection of the demands for land and resources which accompany President Biden’s “green transition” Is growing.
- With trillions in new spending through various bills to pursue Biden’s climate commitments to the United Nations, the residents of rural communities are bearing the brunt of the impacts and they are fighting back.
- About 160 communities have rejected or restricted solar projects since 2017, and since 2015, about 360 communities have rejected or restricted wind projects.
- Now, residents are fighting Ford’s huge battery plant in Michigan.