Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

The barrel is now worth more than the oil inside

We always talk about oil being sold by the barrel.

So what does it mean when the barrel costs about three times more than the oil inside?

According to a website for Uline, a Chicago area shipping supply company, the cost of a 55-gallon, open-top, unlined steel drum is $99. Well, a barrel of oil this week was selling for under $30.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for in Chicago, was first to point out this interesting fact, on Twitter.

“It is just interesting that oil is so cheap right now. It is multiple times cheaper than the container people associate with oil,” said DeHaan. “It gets people to thinking about how crazy low prices are.”

Now, before anyone gets too upset, DeHaan knows that most oil is not shipped in barrels anymore and that the standard for measuring a barrel of oil is 42 gallons.

At the birth of the industry, oil was shipped in classic wood barrels, according to a 2005 Slate blog post. Edwin Drake, who drilled the first oil well in Titusville, Pa., in 1859, started using the containers that shipped whiskey, salt and corn when production grew too fast.

Spiking oil prices in the 1860s led to the development of the first pipeline, and eventually crude was shipped in railroad tanker cars and steel tank barges, making the barrels obsolete. Although shipping by barrels is almost extinct, some companies still ship oil in 55-gallon drums, Slate said. And they’re not cheap.

“Usually the jewelry inside a box costs more, or it’s supposed to,” DeHaan joked.

Six Flags China park underway

Grand Prairie-based Six Flags Entertainment and Canadian-based developer Riverside Investment Group have started work on a $4.6 billion project that includes China’s first Six Flags-branded theme park.

The mixed-use development is in Haiyan, south of Shanghai, and the Six Flags theme park is expected to open in 2019. Six Flags announced its partnership with Riverside in June 2014.

“The Six Flags park in Haiyan will be a spectacular park featuring our signature lineup of record-breaking roller coasters, family rides and attractions and world-class shows — along with themed sections of the park that pay homage to the storied Chinese culture,” John Odum, president of Six Flags International Development Co., said in a statement.

The first phase of the mixed-use development will be a new exhibition center that will open this fall and provide visitors an interactive preview of the upcoming offerings, Six Flags said.

“Six Flags will be the centerpiece of the entire new resort development and will provide a major economic boon to tourism in the Yangtze River Delta and all of Eastern China,” said Che Li, Chairman of the Riverside Investment Group.

Six Flags operates 18 parks in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The company said it also plans parks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Sandra Baker

Elevate Credit postpones IPO

Elevate Credit, the fast-growing Fort Worth-based online lender to credit-strapped consumers, put off its initial public offering last week in the midst of the big downdraft on Wall Street.

The company had been scheduled to price its offering Thursday and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday in what Bloomberg News says would have been the first IPO of the year.

But the company said Thursday that it had decided to “temporarily delay” the offering.

“Although the response to the marketing of our planned IPO has been very favorable, we recognize that the current market volatility makes it very difficult to price our offering at present,” Elevate CEO Ken Rees said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate the timing for the offering as market conditions develop. We believe our strong growth to date, and our responsible online credit products, make Elevate an exciting opportunity that we look forward to bringing to the market.”

Elevate, which offers short-term installment loans and lines of credit to subprime borrowers, filed registration documents for its IPO in November. According to Bloomberg, it hoped to raise $79.2 million by selling 3.6 million shares.

A path to a pilot career at American

American Airlines is making it easier for student pilots to get hired at its regional carriers.

The Fort Worth-based company announced a new pilot training and recruiting program at its wholly owned regional subsidiaries — Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines and PSA Airlines. The program offers tuition reimbursement, mentorships and certification training.

Envoy Air, based in Irving, said the program will put student pilots on a career path to work at Envoy and eventually at American Airlines’ mainline operations.

“The Envoy Cadet Program allows us to ease the financial burden faced by aspiring pilots wanting to pursue this career, while simultaneously giving Envoy access to some of the nation’s top aviation talent,” sais Ric Wilson, Envoys vice president of flight operations. “We expect the enhancements in the Cadet program to attract even more pilots to join our team.”

The program includes up to $16,000 in tuition reimbursement and will place cadets in the government-required Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program course for free. After they complete the program, they will be placed in a first officer new hire class at the regional carrier.

American has partnered with more than 40 universities and flight schools with this new program. Envoy is currently hiring 30 pilots per month.

Sundance Square sugar fix

IT’SUGAR, a specialty candy store and gift retailer, plans to open a store filled with more than 1,000 confections in April at 503 Main St., between Mi Cocina and Barse Jewelry in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square.

“This will be such a fun shop to have in Sundance Square,” said Tracy Gilmour, Sundance Square’s marketing director. “The candy industry is a $35 billion business and growing, so we expect IT’SUGAR to be a big hit in downtown Fort Worth.”

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko