Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Why Businesses Are Ditching California And Heading For Texas -- Yahoo!Finance


March 14, 2015: nothing to do with California, but Seattle restaurants shutting down due to minimum wage of $15/hour. Los Angeles Times "editorial" says it is not the minimum wage that it shutting down these restaurants; the restaurants are shutting down for other reasons. LOL.

July 7, 2014: this graph is worth a thousand words vs the original post below. From Carpe Diem, since 2007, Texas has added a million jobs; California has added 24,900 jobs.

Original Post

This is really cool. I first blogged about this almost exactly one year ago: Carl's Jr. sees a trainwreck; won't expand in California.

Right now it's one of the five top stories at Yahoo!Finance: why business is ditching California and heading for Texas. CKE is the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr. CKE says it has pretty much stopped growing/expanding in California, but plans to open 300 new restaurants in Texas. Here's why:
Part of the appeal of the Lone Star state [Texas], in addition to lower taxes, says Puzder, the CEO of CKE, is that “you don’t have the very burdensome wage and hour laws that you have in California.”
Even permitting procedures become a factor in growth prospects for certain states.
Puzder gave the example that, “in Texas it takes 60-63 days to get permits. In Los Angeles it takes 280 days and in San Francisco we’re not sure how many days it takes because it has been so long since anyone could open a restaurant there.”
These factors are crucial for new businesses because the property sits idle until permitting allows construction to begin, creating losses for every day there’s a delay, according to Puzder.
Puzder's company has announced plans to open hundreds of new restaurants in Texas, thanks in large part to the state's speedy permitting process. “Our intent is to built 300 (stores) in Texas in this decade, whereas in California we’ll build very few restaurants."
Did y'all see that "statistic" regarding San Francisco? Not just CKE (Hardee's / Carl's Jr) but apparently no new restaurants are opening in San Francisco -- and thus no one knows how long it takes to get a permit.

Say what you want about Governor Perry, he's been good for business in Texas. The California icon of hamburger restaurants is In 'N Out. One is located just up the street from where we live. I expect to see more of them over the next few years. Actually, I think, except for White Castle, I've seen every national hamburger chain here in Texas, and I don't see Whataburger in California. Is White Castle still in business? [Update, later, 10:12 p.m. CDT -- a reader wrote in to tell me that there are about six (6) White Castle restaurants still in the Minneapolis area. Awesome.]

Most interesting, the 800-pound gorilla is not mentioned in this story, though it was THE story in the earlier linked Carl's Jr story. It looks like business writers have gotten the memo from their editors: don't mention ObamaCare in any of your business stories. It's too depressing. 

Statoil May Have A Solution To Flaring -- Rigzone

Other related links:
Norwegian University of Science and Technology Project Report; at the link, go to page 29 (a PDF)

Original Post

A long three-page internet story on North Dakota flaring regulations was posted at Rigzone. It looks like Statoil may have a solution (the full story continues on page 2 and 3) but begins (memo to self: saved):
Statoil ASA recently announced a container system to reduce flaring in the Bakken. The company’s timing could not have been better, considering that North Dakota just approved new flaring regulations.
More restrictive regulations covering flaring on existing wells were passed by the North Dakota Industrial Commission – the state’s regulating entity for oil and gas – July 1. The goal of the commission is to reduce flaring to 26 percent by the fourth quarter of 2014, 23 percent by the first quarter of 2016, and 10 percent – with the potential of 5 percent – by the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the commission’s website. Previously, about 30 percent of natural gas in North Dakota was flared. Operators that do not comply with the new flaring restrictions will be subject to restrictions in oil production.
Operators will be restricted to producing 200 barrels a day if they do not collect at least 60 percent of their natural gas. There will be a 90-day grace period for an operator not meeting the new rules to produce at a maximum rate before being subject to a penalty.
The new regulations on existing wells fall on the heels of more restrictive regulations covering flaring on new gas wells, which were approved and went into effect June 1.
The regulations require energy companies that are filing for permits to also submit a plan to capture natural gas that is likely to be released by the new wells. No new wells will be approved without a plan, according to North Dakota state officials. Estimates prior to the new regulations found that as much as 30 percent of natural gas found in the Bakken was flared, compared with a national average of less than 1 percent.
The amount of emissions produced by flaring in the Bakken has been nearly 13 billion pounds annually, compared to about 365 billion pounds of emissions that are produced from the oil that comes from the Bakken annually, according to a December 2013 story in Forbes.
The article continues for two more internet pages. 

Weekly Crude Oil Report -- EIA, Unremarkable, July 2, 2014; Deniers 1, Warmers 0

Refinery inputs increased slightly over the past week compared to the previous week, but not worth talking about.

However, refinery utilization rate was back into the 90's at 91.45%.

US crude oil inventories (excluding the SPR) decreased by 3.2 million bbls from the previous week, a decrease but not particularly noteworthy, and probably a reflection of increased refinery utilization and increased gasoline demand during the summer driving season. Total gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million bbls but remain in the middle of the average range.

A rather unremarkable report.

Starbucks Fizzio: 54 cents, Pelligro, $1.89

Normally when I finish a long bike ride and end up at Starbucks, I order a bottle of sparkling water for $1.89 plus tax (San Pellegrino). Last night, the barista said I should try the Starbucks Fizzio water -- more water and only 54 cents. Yes, I've tried it and it's incredible. Refreshing. Can't beat the price. Also, I think I'm capturing CO2 -- one of those nasty green house gases. Oh, that reminds me. The other day on NPR, "they" were talking about global warming (yes, global warming, not climate change). For a moment it got a bit "inconvenient" when the host asked about CO2, and the warmist said, "oh, yes, it's everywhere. Right now we're breathing it." OMG. I found it clever/cute/disingenuous to say we're "breathing" CO2. In fact, we inhale oxygen (and minuscule amounts of CO2) and exhale CO2. Of course, our exhaling CO2 adds to environmental CO2, I suppose, but the warmist caught herself -- and simply said "we're breathing CO2 right now." OMG.


Green Onions, Booker T. and the MGs
Deniers 1, Warmers 0

I guess that's how FIFA would score it. I'm talking about sea ice and its correlation to global warming. For the past several years the warmers have been tracking the extent of Arctic sea ice and "correlating" its decrease to global warming.

But now this: the "warmer-in-chief" has agreed that not only is the Antarctic sea ice expanding but the extent of the expansion has set two records in the past two weeks. In addition, the "warmer-in-chief" says the entire amount of sea ice -- globally -- is increasing, and has increased. [By the way, regular readers are well aware that a) sea has increased globally over the past few years; b) Antarctic is the "biggie"; in comparison, Arctic ice is insignificant/inconsequential to the whole discussion. Wht is new is that the "warmer-in-chief" concedes (?) that the Antarctic is increasing in extent, despite all those video shots of icebergs falling off the continent into the sea.]

But the "warmer-in-chief" says this is counter-intuitive, with regard to "global warming." [I think he still uses the phrase "global warming," not "climate change."] In fact, he says, it is expected that global sea ice would expand with global warming.

Whether you are a warmer or a denier, and for the record, I am agnostic on the issue, it must now be agreed that tracking sea ice is pretty meaningless. Or maybe it's not meaningless. Maybe, if the "warmer-in-chief" is correct, then expanding sea ice confirms that there is global warming.

I do know this: the polar bear population is increasing. That, too, has been verified by polarbearologists (or more correctly, ursusmaritimusists).

1-0 on the sea-ice-thingie.

Oh, the warmest month on record was July, 1936.

Don't even get me started:


Another source reporting on record Antarctic ice from IceAgeNow:
Earlier this year, global warming was blamed for the ‘irreversible retreat’ of west Antarctic glaciers. But now scientists claim that warming of the planet is in fact behind a paradoxical growth in South Pole sea ice.
That  claim was made by Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, when speaking to Harold Ambler at Talking About the Weather.
The shift is supposedly caused by water melting from beneath the Antarctic ice shelves, which is then somehow, magically, re-frozen back at the surface, increasing the amount of sea ice.
Incredibly, this latest bit of propaganda comes out just as Antarctica’s sea ice set a new record high, reaching 815,448 square miles (1,312,000 sq km) of ice above its normal range.
That is a HUGE amount of ice!
How many states would be covered if that 815,239 square miles of ice were on land?
Would you believe the entire eastern one-third of the United States?
That amount of ice would cover all of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and just for good measure, toss in 132 square miles for Washington, D.C.
And that’s not even TOTAL ice. That’s just the amount of ice that’s above normal.
They’re trying to tell us that global warming has created enough new ice to cover the eastern one-third of the United States?

Four Of Six Wells Go To "DRL" Status -- July 2, 2014

Wells coming off confidential list Wednesday:
  • 24507, drl, CLR, Norfolk 5-1H, North Tobacco Garden, no production data,
  • 26097, 1,187, Petro-Hunt, Syverson 156-99-30B-31-5H, East Fork,  t5/14; cum 20K 5/14;
  • 26709, drl, Hess, BW-Arnegard State-151-100-3625H-5, Sandrocks, no production data,
  • 26770, drl, CLR, Winston 6-12H1, Long Creek, no production data,
  • 26823, drl, XTO, Boe State 31X-16C, Beaver Lodge, no production data,
  • 27076, 425, Slawson, E Rennerfeldt 2-13H, Stockyard Creek, t4/14; cum 13K 5/14;
Fourteen (14) new permits --
  • Operators: XTO (6), Newfield (3), Oasis (3), Slawson, Whiting
  • Fields: Tobacco Garden (McKenzie), Sand Creek (McKenzie), Cottonwood (Burke), Sanish (Mountrail), Big Bend (Mountrail)
  • Comments: the daily activity report was not posted at the NDIC site at COB today, but the data above is "correct" to the best of my knowledge
Wells coming off the confidential list today were posted earlier; see sidebar at the right.

For Investors Only -- July 2, 2014

Regular readers know I don't care for Motley Fool but I'm always a sucker for headlines. Here's a Motley Fool headline from this morning (tie this story in with the RBN Energy story posted earlier): these pipeline companies shine in North Dakota I haven't read the story yet, but I can bet that a) I will be disappointed in the analysis; and, b) the companies will come from this list: Oneok, Williams, Enbridge, MDU.

So, let's see:

"Enterprise steals the show." -- oh, my, I had forgotten that one.

Then, of course, Enbridge.

And that was it. Okay.

I did not read this article, and I won't, but it's probably a good article. I bought CHK when it hit bottom, fired its flamboyant CEO (who I really, really respect and would follow anywhere just for the roller-coaster ride), and (CHK) began selling assets. I have not been disappointed. The article's headline: don't get upset by the price drop in Chesapeake Energy due to the Seventy Seven Energy spin-off. Personally I would like to see a story on the origin of that name.  This is the rumor (which I doubt is true): Chesapeake Energy has seventy-seven wholly-owned subsidiaries, and racked and stacked them for selling. This particular subsidiary was at the bottom of the list, as it were, not in quality, but just simply at the bottom of the list, #77. I doubt the validity of that rumor. Even the WSJ failed to provide an explanation.


North American energy firm, Williams Companies Inc. announced the closure of its previously declared purchase of the remaining 50% general partner interest and 55.1 million limited partner units in Access Midstream Partners LP.
The acquisition has given Williams Companies full GP ownership and 50% LP interest in the Oklahoma City-based partnership. It has also enhanced its transportation and midstream businesses as Access Midstream holds a strong portfolio of natural gas pipelines and gathering assets in the Marcellus, Barnett, Utica, Haynesville, Eagle Ford, Mid-continent and Niobrara shale regions. 
The benefits from the acquisition would be reflected in Williams Companies’ third-quarter dividend, which is expected to increase 32.0% to 56 cents per share. The projected annualized dividend for 2014 and 2015 is $1.96 and $2.46, respectively. From 2015 through 2017, the company plans 15% dividend hike.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. Do not make any investment decisions based on anything you read here or anything you think you may have read here.


The market holds its gains, up slightly in early morning training (10:16 a.m. CDT) and WTI crude oil is still above $105.

The big story, without a doubt, it the surprising jobs report: ADP estimates 179,000 new private jobs added in June*, which is the fastest hiring since 1999. Some folks recall that ADP underestimated in their previous report and some now think that this number is a slight "overshoot." The analysts had expected somewhere between 179,000 and 200,000. The best news is that the market apparently likes this number: it's going in the right direction to justify a strong earnings season, but not strong enough (jobs report) to allow the Fed to do much to upset the apple cart. Speaking of apples, which of course leads to apple pie, I assume everyone has heard by now that Michelle reassured reporters that contrary to her husband's remark, the White House pastry chef is not putting crack cocaine into the pies. (I could be wrong, but most crack addicts do not have a weight problem: memo to Michelle.)

Back to the pipeline story above: EPD is trading at new highs today, and pays almost 4%. Some profit taking at EEP as it drops 3%; EEP pays over 6%, and has gone from $26 this year to over $37. Enbridge, the wind energy company, is up slightly today. Bakken operators: OAS has been on a tear the past couple of weeks and is up again today, nearing it's all-time high. KOG is solidly above $14, something many of us thought would not happen, but flat at the moment. Still looking for a huge story; can't find one. So, we'll move on.

Politically, the polls suggest the president has the worse polling numbers in ... well, ever since they started taking polls. It was George Bush's fault that everything broke, and now the people are upset that the king's men (literally) cannot put it back together again. Hey, it takes time. And a lot more money.

*The ADP Employment Change Index on Wednesday showed that the U.S. private sector added 179,000 jobs in May, which was below the forecast of 210,000 jobs and the April figure of 220,000. Some comments:
  • 179,000 jobs: below the forecast of 210,000
  • 179,000 jobs: below the April figure of 220,000
  • 179,000 jobs: well below the magic number of 200,000 (any number below 200,000 = economic stagnation; although this could change when government figures are added in at the end of the week
  • peak construction hiring in the summer; 179,000 is disappointing
  • all-in-all: a number that made Wall Street happy (memo to self: insert a smiley face here) but didn't do much for Main Street
A Note to the Granddaughters

It's taken a year, but we have pretty much figured out the highways and byways (the frontage road system) in the Grapevine, Texas, area. It's really quite incredible; Texas has the best highway system in the world, at least in the world I know, including Germany.

Everything we need is within walking distance, biking distance, or five minutes by car. In some case, as far as ten minutes by car. On my own, I bike to JR's Steakhouse and Grill but with my wife, we drive. Yesterday we found the shortcut to the sports restaurant through the high school's parking lot. I wrote earlier that my wife and I watched the US play Belgium in the World Cup yesterday. My wife and I had drinks (she had water; I had one Blue Moon) and appetizers (unhealthy battered mushrooms, and healthy veggies) during the first half, and then enjoyed our main course during the second period (we reviewed the menu options during the break). We would have ordered dessert had the game gone to penalty kicks.

We went by the restaurant at 2:30 to reserve our table and told them we would be back at 3:00 (we were). I believe we were one of the first to ever walk in and point out the exact table we wanted to reserve. The hostess had to ask the manager if that was okay. It was. JR's Steakhouse and Grill on Texas Highway 121, south of Grapevine. As usual, I pay the full cost of the meal, and my wife leaves the tip in cash; I then match in cash whatever she leaves for the tip. Some days, the tip can be more than half the cost of the meal. My wife's mother was a waitress.

This morning I had to take the car in for its annual safety inspection. It expired in June, but I've learned that it makes more sense to wait to the first of the new month to get the annual inspection. Everybody rushes in at the last minute. Today, there was no waiting. My favorite spot is the Jiffy Lube station on 157-South, in Euless, I guess, or Bedford -- the cities all run together in this area around the DFW airport. Wow, they do a great job. They have access to the same diagnostics as the manufacturer and are a whole lot quicker than the dealer or Firestone. I prefer Firestone for comprehensive maintenance and tires.

We have lifetime FREE maintenance on our Chrysler (obtained during the bankruptcy crisis when the dealer was offering incredible incentives to buy a new automobile) but it's actually easier to just go to Jiffy Lube to get routine stuff done. The minivan was paid off some time ago, and has all of 53,000 miles on it, so the van is in its prime of life. It's hard to believe how good American, German, and Japanese cars are these days (as long the ignition switches work). Perhaps Indian, Yugoslavian, and Korean cars are just as good; but we've never owned any cars from any of those countries.

We gave our first Chrysler minivan away some years ago (as in donated to a worthy cause, and no, we did not get a tax write off) with 197,000 miles on it. It was in perfect condition, except a new transmission was next on the list of things to get done. We bought a second Chrysler minivan in 2005 which we still have. We bought a third Chrysler minivan in 2007, the one I took in for the oil change today, sight unseen. We were in San Antonio when we drove to the dealer, and pointed way across the lot that the minivan about a mile away at the end of the lot was the one we wanted. So, yes, we saw it, but it was at a distance. The salesman asked us if we wanted to take it for a test drive, but I assumed if they were able to drive it from the end of the lot to the showroom area where we were it was fine. I wasn't going to learn much from a test drive.

Personally, I dislike automobiles. You have no idea how much I dislike them. I never drive them if I don't have to. The cars I've bought over the years, and I've bought a lot, all belong / belonged to my wife or my daughters. I have only had one car in my entire life -- no, make that two cars -- that I called my own. The first love of my life was a car my dad bought me in 1973, a Chevy Nova SS. It was incredible. Actually, that reminds me. That was not my first car. My dad bought me a 1948 Willys jeep in 1967 or 1968 which my brother got when I left home in 1969. No windows on that jeep and I drove it to high school in -30-degree winter weather in January of 1969. Ended up in juvenile court for driving with obstructed vision (ice on the windshield).

The only other car I considered my own -- well, that reminds me -- actually, there was a fourth, a Toyota Corolla back in 1980 -- that was a nice car. Some innovative ideas the Japanese came up with; but I didn't have that car long. Bought it and then we were transferred overseas, and we gave the Chev Nova away in 1983, and sold the Corolla.

No, I guess I had another car in Europe that was "my own": a brand new Saab.

Enough of this. I guess it was only in the last few years that my love affair with automobiles ended. Whatever.

And No, There's No Crack Cocaine In The Pie Crusts -- Michelle
And, Yes, We Have No Bananas

No Crack in the Pies, Michelle

The real question these two Turks forgot to ask: how many men and women in Peoria, IL, would even think of putting crack cocaine in pie crusts? That's the story.

Must Read Update On Bakken Takeaway -- RBN Energy; July 2, 2014

Active rigs:

Active Rigs190192215172132

RBN Energy: North Dakota Bakken -- shift away from CBR and back to pipelines (these links will break over time).
The latest North Dakota Pipeline Authority (NDPA) data for April 2014 shows crude production in that State finally crossing the 1 MMb/d mark. That threshold was finally crossed after producers recovered from a harsh winter that shut in production and constrained new drilling. But while production continues to grow and is expected to reach 1.7 MMb/d by the end of 2019, producer crude takeaway preferences appear to be changing. NDPA data shows an 8 percent reduction in rail shipments out of North Dakota since November 2013. Today we investigate the shift away from rail transportation.
The Wall Street Journal

Ukraine forces go on offensive.

Who would have guessed? In the Supreme Court term just ended, Chief Justice John Roberts joined with liberal colleagues to draw some of the court's major decisions toward the middle.

ObamaCare/Trainwreck: Obama's federal health exchange was unable to resolve 2.6 millio of 2.9 million data inconsistencies on insurance applications through December, 2013, because the eligibility system didn't work, according to a new report.  2.6 out of 2.9 is essentially "all" applications -- which validates my number that perhaps as many as 2 million (vs 8 million [their number, not mine] the administration says signed up) actually were enrolled, unfettered, and not confused. Maybe even that's a stretch.

Obama will cut and delay highway funds as of August 1, 2014.

European Court of Human Rights upheld France's ban on full-face veils such as burqas and niqabs. A broad ruling.

US auto sales keep climbing. Are $60,000 automobiles and $75,000 pick-up trucks the "new" homes folks aren't buying?

For all the folks who hate Ma Bell, the fraud that T-Mobile is accused of goes beyond the pale. 

Right-to-work? BMW plans Mexican assembly plant. No ObamaCare rules, no unions, and certainly less expensive energy than German's renewable energy costs. This will be the company's first assembly plant in Mexico.

US stocks set new records. Speaking of records, the extent of Antarctic sea ice set a new record -- now twice in as many weeks for setting new records. The US government spokesman says it is counter-intuitive but, yes, the Antarctic ice extent is setting new records (the government's own words, not mine), but it is due to global warming. Okay, so when folks start telling us sea ice is diminishing, we can't be told it is due to global warming -- unless global warming (and not George Bush) is now to blame for everything. Including earthquakes. (Note the new global warming tag: 2014 - 2015). The hurricane developing off the East Coast will be cited as the first weather event in 2014 to be due to global warming this 2014-2015 year. Count on it.

Overheard on the street:
"The process has already been started and we would expect to have the permit for the Gulf of Mexico terminal in 2005."
The Exxon Mobil executive quoted 10 years ago was spot on in his timing: The company completed permitting for a liquefied natural gas terminal in July 2005. The only problem: it was an import terminal that started running in 2010—just as Exxon was buying XTO Energy to get in on the shale-gas boom that had rendered such facilities largely obsolete.
Exxon is now looking to add export capacity at the same site to relieve the natural-gas glut that keeps domestic prices low. This is just one of many such U.S. proposals, according to a recent report from SNL Energy, adding up to export capacity equivalent to around 41 billion cubic feet per day. That is up from 33 billion a day only in December.
Given that the current level of proposals equates to almost 60% of current U.S. gas consumption, most of these projects will never break ground. Those who succeeded a decade ago—the last time LNG fever gripped the U.S. energy industry, but for imports—must sometimes wish they could say the same.
The Los Angeles Times

LA city unions seek $15 minimum wage. Why don't they just go for $150/hour? That's what I've never understood about this minimum wage thing: why stop at $15/hour?

Private sector adds surprisingly strong 281,000 jobs in June.

It will be interesting to see the Nielsen ratings for World Cup soccer starting today -- now that the US is out. But, wow, that was an exciting game yesterday afternoon; possibly a note to the granddaughters if I have time. Suffice it to say, my wife and I had drinks and appetizer during the first half, and then main course during the second period (we reviewed the menu options during the break). We would have ordered dessert had it gone to penalty kicks. All at my favorite sports restaurant within walking distance of where we live. We went by the restaurant at 2:30 to reserve our table and told them we would be back at 3:00 (we were). I believe we were one of the first to ever walk in and point out the exact table we wanted to reserve (the hostess had to ask the manager if that was okay). It was. JR's Steakhouse and Grill on Texas Highway 121, south of Grapevine. As usual, I pay the full cost of the meal, and my wife leaves the tip in cash; I then match in cash whatever she leaves for the tip. Some days, the tip can be more than half the cost of the meal. My wife's mother was a waitress.