Li Content Of Oil Field And Other Sedimentary Basin Brines

Presenter: Mohammad Marza1
Co-Author(s): -
Advisor(s): Dr. Jennifer McIntosh
1Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

Panapto Presentation Video
Oral Session 1: Weather and Hydroclimate Extremes

With increasing Li demands to fuel a lower carbon economy (e.g., electric car batteries), it is important to evaluate potential Li sources beyond traditional continental brines and hard-rock mining. This study investigates the concentration, sources, and potential production rates of Li from basinal fluids in North America. We find the highest Li concentrations in basins containing formation waters that originated from evaporation of seawater, in the geologic past, to the point of halite-potash salt precipitation. Li is enriched compared to evaporated seawater, from interaction with detrital sediments, shales, volcanic ash, and in some cases circulation of hydrothermal fluids. Six sedimentary basins, included in this study, contained Li above 65 mg/L. The Jurassic Smackover Formation in the Gulf Coast Basin, which has been the focus of previous Li exploration, has the highest Li concentration (1700 mg/L) and potential Li production rate (~340 tonnes year-1 well-1). There are also relatively high Li concentrations and potential production rates in the Paradox Formation in the Paradox Basin, Clinton/Medina Groups in the Appalachian Basin, and Devonian section and Charles Formation in the Williston Basin. The highest potential Li production rates tend to be in more permeable formations with elevated Li. The concentration of Li is heterogenous in space and over the lifetime of wells, which may necessitate drilling targeted wells or gathering basinal brines to increase Li production. Together, these results show that basinal brines could be a competitive resource for Li production, worthy of further investigation.

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