Oklahoma is being considered as a site for another electric vehicle battery plant, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Panasonic Holdings, a supplier to electric car manufacturer Tesla, is in negotiations to build the factory at a cost of about $4 billion, the newspaper reported.
Panasonic Energy selected De Soto, Kansas, last month as a site to build a $4 billion battery plant that is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs. MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor was a finalist for the Kansas factory and had offered millions of dollars in incentives to land the economic development in an effort labeled “Project Ocean.”
Through a spokeswoman, Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office on Monday declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal report.
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But at an event in Tulsa earlier this month, Stitt intimated that Oklahoma remains in play for a large economic development.
“Oklahoma is well-positioned to attract not only Project Ocean-type projects but other great, great companies,” Stitt told reporters at the Tulsa gathering. “We have the lowest electricity costs in the country. I’m not saying we’ve lost anything at this point.
“All the announcement was — and I think people have misunderstood it — was that they are going to put one plant in Kansas. So we’re still working together.”
Earlier this year, Oklahoma said it would allocate $698 million to chase Project Ocean under a bill designed to bring to the state an unidentified company that will invest a minimum of $3.6 billion and create at least 4,000 new jobs within five years.
As for the state incentives, Stitt said at the Tulsa event: “It’s a pay-as-you-go. If they do this, if they bring these types of jobs, then there were some incentive packages. But those monies are in savings. It can be redeployed.”
Oklahoma shares a border with Texas, home to Tesla’s car and battery production facilities.
Mayes County commissioners approved a 12-year, $300 million tax increment financing district earlier this year in anticipation of the project. Challenged in court, that TIF now will be placed on the November ballot for voters to decide, Tom Sawyer, the attorney who spearheaded that effort, said Monday in an email.