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Battery facility to bring 50 jobs to Bartlesville

By Journal Record Staff - October 3, 2023

BARTLESVILLE – A battery “upcycling” facility to open in Bartlesville later this year will create about 50 new jobs in the community steeped in energy industry history.

The facility, planned by Washington, D.C.-based Blue Whale Materials, will be located in the Bartlesville Industrial Park. In a release, Blue Whale said it will collect and sort used lithium-ion batteries previously used in everything from cellphones and tablets to electric vehicles. The expended batteries then will be discharged and processed for upcycling.

If things go well, the company could grow to employ as many as 90 people over the next few years.

The Bartlesville Development Authority and city of Bartlesville provided business incentives and worked with Blue Whale Materials in identifying a location for the facility. As part of an agreement, the BOA will fund up to $1 million in facility improvements. Additionally, it will provide up to $750,000 in rent credits over 25 months after Blue Whale’s creation of 50 full-time-equivalent jobs. If the company grows faster than projected, it will be eligible for up to $600,000 more in incentives through January 2026.

“Bartlesville’s commitment to high-paying, energy jobs continues,” BOA President David Wood said. “From our beginnings of having the first commercial oil well in Oklahoma, the birth of Phillips Petroleum Company and global offices for Phillips 66, ConocoPhillips, ChevronPhillips, ABB and Schlumberger, Bartlesville’s energy history is strong. Blue Whale Materials is the logical next step for this new world of sustainable energy sources and accelerates Bartlesville to the forefront of energy production for years to come.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said the investment in Bartlesville will be good for the state as a whole. “I am thrilled to welcome Blue Whale Materials to Oklahoma, and I applaud their choice of Bartlesville for their innovative battery recycling facility,” he said. “Blue Whale’s investment here aligns with our state’s ‘more of everything’ approach to our nation’s energy needs. I met with their management team during the recruitment process and they believe Oklahoma is the best state to locate their company. We are ready to partner with them to provide the workforce and talent they need to thrive here.”

Blue Whale co-founder and CEO Robert Kang said the company looks forward to contributing to the economic vitality of the region.

“Project Isotope” was initiated in early 2023 by AEP/PSO.

“Oklahoma is a hub of energy innovation, and we are excited to welcome Blue Whale Materials to Bartlesville. The PSO team appreciates the Bartlesville Development Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for partnering with us and others in the community on this project,” said PSO President and Chief Operating Officer Leigh Anne Strahler. SOURCE: The Journal Record

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