Lanxess plans new western Union County wells for brine production

  • Mike McNeill, publisher and editor  magnoliareporter.com Nov 20, 2022

Lanxess Corporation wants to feed its Union County bromine plants with more brine from the Smackover Formation.

The company seeks an order from the Arkansas Oil & Gas Commission to establish the “Central Expansion Brine Unit” for 6,600 acres of land in western Union County.

The move is part of a general expansion of brine production in Union and Columbia counties. Albemarle Corporation recently announced a $540 million project to expand to its brine fields and bromine production facilities in Columbia County. For its part, Lanxess wants to fill own needs for bromine and to supply brine feedstock to Standard Lithium.

Standard Lithium is using a pilot plant to determine the best ways to extract lithium from the brine once it passes through the Lanxess facility.

Another company, Tetra Technologies, is contemplating creation of a brine field and bromine plant on leases it has in Columbia and Lafayette counties.

Lanxess has brine leases for more than 90 percent of the Central Expansion Brine Unit property and is trying to acquire leases for the remainder.

The property is in the shape of an inverted “L” and straddles U.S. 82 west of El Dorado, generally along and east of Arkansas 172 – also known as the Lisbon Road.

Oil & Gas commissioners are expected to act on the request at their December meeting.

In a letter to the commission from Fort Smith attorney Thomas A. Daily, representing Lanxess, Daily said the company has written a plan to develop the acreage to expand, enhance and prolong brine recovery in Union County.

Exhibits attached to the filing indicate that Lanxess has obtained leases from 264 property owners within the unit. They own 90.32 percent of the property in the unit. The remaining 150 landowners hold relatively small interests, Daily’s letter said.

“Lanxess intends to continue its efforts to obtain brine leases from as many of those owners as possible following the issuances of the order creating the Central Expansion Unit,” the letter said.

The company will apply to have any land that remains unleased by mid-March 2023 integrated into the unit by the commission at its April 2023 meeting.

“Lanxess does not intend to product or inject any brine within the unit until after that hearing, but will continue to develop the unit’s wells and infrastructure in the interim,” the letter said.

The company intends to drill three new brine supply wells, designated as BSW 16, BSW 17 and BSW 20. The BSW 20 well will be physically located within the existing production unit for Lanxess’ West Plant on Shuler Road. However, the brine it produces – as well as the brine from the other two wells -- will be processed at Lanxess’ Central Plant in El Dorado.

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