Barnett Shale production hits benchmark — on the downside

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 04, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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The Barnett Shale might be declining more slowly than many expected, but declining it is, to less than 5 billion cubic feet a day in recent months.

Now, sharp-eyed readers might recall that we’ve reported this before — prematurely, as it turned out.

Last year, citing official Texas Railroad Commission and Powell Shale Digest figures, we said the big North Texas natural gas field dipped below 5 billion cubic feet in June 2013, which would have been its lowest production since December 2009. But as late reports dribbled into the agency, the output was adjusted upward to 5.2 bcf a day in June and stayed above 5 bcf until December, when it slid to 4.84 bcf a day.

Production bounced back above 5 billion in January but was below that admittedly arbitrary benchmark in February and March, according to the Powell Shale Digest. The Barnett peaked at 6.3 billion cubic feet a day in November 2011.

“Given the huge drop in the number of new wells being drilled, it continues to amaze us how Barnett production has continued to hold up,” Powell Shale Digest editors said.

Appel says RadioShack needed Magnacca years ago

There are many reasons behind RadioShack’s struggles in recent years. And on Tuesday, a former high-level executive told board members that they share the blame for hiring the wrong type of CEO several years ago.

Bernie Appel, who joined RadioShack when it was a fledgling chain with three stores in Boston and retired as president in 1993, said board members made a mistake by hiring a finance specialist instead of a merchandiser like the current CEO, Joseph Magnacca, after Len Roberts retired and his successor, Dave Edmondson, was forced to resign.

Appel was referring to Julian Day, who was hired as CEO in July 2006, and his successor, Jim Gooch. Day was a veteran chief financial officer who had filled top finance roles at Safeway and Sears Holdings. During his time at RadioShack, he focused on aggressively cutting costs, including trimming headquarters jobs, and pulled the company out of its decades-long role in Fort Worth community affairs.

He rarely articulated a merchandising vision for the company, which some thought he was prepping for a potential private equity buyout. But that never happened, and after the economy fell apart with the financial crisis, RadioShack was left vulnerable. Gooch, who was CFO under Day, became CEO in 2011 but was fired 16 months later.

Appel, 82, compared RadioShack’s position with another Fort Worth retailer that changed CEOs around the same time, Pier 1 Imports. That company’s board hired Alex Smith, a veteran merchant, to succeed longtime boss Marvin Girouard in 2007. With the housing market tumbling, the home decor company was losing money and the stock price fell below 25 cents a share by 2009. But Smith engineered an impressive turnaround, and Pier 1 shares now trade above $17 a share.

“They didn’t bring in a finance person who just wanted to cut costs and close things,” Appel said. RadioShack’s board, he said, should have hired Magnacca, who brings merchandising experience from Walgreens, much earlier. — Steve Kaskovich

Penn Station East Coasts Subs coming to Southlake

Southlake, Flower Mound and Plano will be the first locations for Penn Station East Coast Subs in North Texas.

PS DFW LLC, owned by a group of partners led by David Sherzer and Dave Coussirat, plans to have the three restaurants open this year. It plans 15 stores in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Penn Station East Coast Subs is a fast-casual restaurant known for its legendary Philadelphia Cheesesteak Sub served hot and made to order on fresh-baked French bread.

“We are very excited to bring the irresistible taste of Penn Station to Dallas-Fort Worth,” said Sherzer, a Coppell resident who worked for George W. Bush for nearly a decade, including seven years at the White House and more than two in the former president’s office in Dallas. “We believe the fresh-baked and fresh-grilled sandwiches, fresh-cut fries, fresh-squeezed lemonade and fresh-brewed iced tea will be a big hit here.”

Coussirat, of Flower Mound, has worked in the food and beverage industry in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 20 years. He has been operations director for Jamba Juice, Taco Bell and most recently Freebirds World Burrito.

Penn Station East Coast Subs was founded in Cincinnati in 1985. It has more than 270 restaurants in 13 states.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718 Twitter: @bshlachter

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