Blue Whale Materials headed to Bartlesville

September 19, 2023

A multi-million dollar, high tech facility is on its way to the Bartlesville Industrial Park, sealing Bartlesville’s reputation as Oklahoma’s leader in energy-focused business.

Blue Whale· Materials, a lithium-ion battery upcycling operation based in Washington, D.C., will build its first state-of-the-art, technologically superior and sustainable center at the Bartlesville Industrial Park thanks to the leadership of the Bartlesville Development Authority and Bartlesville City Council.

Initially, it is expected that Blue Whale Materials will have 50 employees with growth potential to 90 high­ paying jobs over the next few years. The Bartlesville facility will collect and sort used lithium-ion batteries previously used on everything from cell phones and tablets, to electric vehicle batteries. Those batteries would then be discharged and processed for upcycling.

“We are pleased to be able to contribute to the economic vitality of the region as we continue to reshape the battery industry,” said Robert Kang, CEO and co-founder of Blue Whale Materials.

In return for Blue Whale Materials’ investment in Bartlesville, the BOA and City of Bartlesville are providing several incentives to generate this new business. As part of the agreement, the BDA is funding up to $1 million in improvements to the facility, which the BDA owns. Additionally, the BDA is providing up to $750,000 in rent credits over the first 25 months for the 50 full-time equivalent jobs the new facility will initially generate. The incentive is through the city of Bartlesville’s Economic Development Fund, which will be distributed by the BDA. If Blue Whale Materials grows even faster than projected, the company will be eligible for up to $600,000 more in incentives through January 2026.

“Bartlesville’s commitment to high-paying, energy jobs continues,” said BDA President David Wood. “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 Blue Whale Materials new Bartlesville facility is an important step for the state as a whole.

“I welcome Blue Whale Materials to Oklahoma and applaud their choice of Bartlesville for their innovative facility,” Stitt said. “This investment aligns with our state’s focus on clean energy and self-sufficiency in critical materials production and will bring jobs and investment to the state.”

“Project Isotope” was initiated in early 2023 by AEP/PSO which contacted the BDA.

“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.

The company’s inaugural processing facility, located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, is set to commence operations in late 2024.

Information provided by Bartlesville Development Authority