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Saudi Arabia and UAE to Extract Lithium from Oil Fields: What You Need to Know

A Reuters report, on Friday, shed light on the important mineral lithium, after quoting three unidentified sources, that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are seeking to extract it, through Aramco and ADNOC, from salty water in the two companies’ oil fields.

The sources declined to provide details about the direct lithium extraction technology that will be used by the two giant companies.

And according to ReutersSaudi Arabia and the UAE can benefit from experience in dealing with salt water at oil production sites, in line with efforts to diversify their economies and benefit from the transition to electric cars.

Aramco did not respond to a request for comment, and ADNOC also declined to comment.

What is lithium?

Lithium is a soft, light alkali metal that, under standard conditions, is the least dense solid element. It is known as one of the lightest metals.

Like all alkali metal elements, lithium is highly reactive and flammable, and must be stored in a vacuum, inert atmosphere, or inert liquid, such as purified kerosene or mineral oil.

Lithium is extracted through two methods, one of which is from open mines, which is a traditional process that is expensive and environmentally difficult, while the second is through salty groundwater at a depth of more than 4,000 feet below the surface of the earth, which is a relatively modern method.

Because of its solubility as an ion, it is found in ocean water and is usually obtained from brine solutions. Lithium metal is electrolytically isolated from a mixture of lithium chloride and potassium chloride.

Lithium is used in electric car batteries because it is lightweight, can store a lot of energy, and can be recharged frequently.

Analysts estimate that demand for lithium will increase tenfold before the end of this decade, as Tesla, Volkswagen, General Motors, and other automakers offer dozens of electric models, according to the newspaper.The New York Times“.

Batteries also need other components, such as cobalt, to maintain their stability and lifespan.

Can you bet on it?

Lithium prices rose rapidly in 2021 and 2022, with the trend towards increased manufacturing of electric cars that rely on batteries, rather than traditional fossil fuels.

But that rise quickly declined in 2023. Currently, global economic weakness has led to a decline in purchases of new electric vehicles, which has affected lithium prices, according to Reuters.

Lithium prices have fallen by about 80 percent since reaching their peak in November 2022, as a slowdown in electric vehicle sales led to abundant supply, according to the agency.

Reuters noted that, despite this, leading automakers are among those looking for new supplies of lithium, in anticipation of future demand.

Saudi Arabia launches an electric car brand and announces “when the first models will be available”

On Thursday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the launch of the “Sir” company to manufacture electric cars in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia created its own brand of electric cars, “Sir,” and built a metal factory for this type of car.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund aims to produce 500,000 Sir electric cars annually by 2030.

This comes in light of Saudi Arabia’s attempts, whose economy has depended on oil for decades, to transform itself into a center for electric vehicles, as part of the plan of the Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to diversify sources of income.

The UAE also has its own plans in this field, through the “Rabdan” electric car manufactured locally by the “NWTN” company.

But for now, “investors cannot bet on lithium, because the futures market is still undeveloped,” the newspaper reported.Wall Street Journal“The American newspaper in its report, last month.

2024-03-09 12:19:08
#Saudi #Arabia #UAE #betting #light #metal

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