ENERGY

Trump lets Keystone pipeline ship more oil

President Trump has approved the existing Keystone pipeline to ship 29 percent more Canadian crude into the Midwest and Gulf Coast after TC Energy’s decade-old expansion project was stalled again this month by legal hurdles.

Trump issued a new presidential permit for the base Keystone line, allowing TC to boost capacity by 170,000 barrels per day to 761,000, TC spokesman Terry Cunha said on Thursday. The first 50,000 increment begins flowing next year.

The additional Canadian crude oil on the line will help meet growing U.S. refinery demand, CEO Russ Girling said on a conference call.

When Trump came to office, he revived TC’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which has been delayed by opposition from landowners, environmental groups and tribes. It would give Canada expanded access to its top oil market after its existing pipelines ran full in recent years.

The U.S. Supreme Court reinforced this month a lower-court ruling that blocked a key environmental permit, blocking substantial U.S. construction.

TC expects Keystone XL to enter service in 2023. Construction is underway in Canada, and TC is working on a revised 2020 U.S. work plan focusing on areas that have all approvals, Girling said.

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY

Calif. Pizza Kitchen files for bankruptcy

California Pizza Kitchen has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Houston, becoming the latest restaurant chain to try to cut debt as it grapples with the pandemic.

“For many restaurants, the Covid-19 pandemic will be the greatest challenge they will ever face; for some, it may also be their last,” CEO James Hyatt said in a declaration filed Wednesday as part of the bankruptcy.

The company, which operates more than 200 restaurants in the United States and abroad, has reached an agreement with a majority of its senior creditors on a restructuring plan. It’s looking to reduce its debt by $230 million, more than half of the total, and raise additional funding from existing lenders to buttress its balance sheet, court filings say.

As the pandemic took hold in the United States in mid-March and California Pizza Kitchen faced restaurant closures and a drop in revenue, the company took a $30 million secured loan from a group of its first-lien lenders. That loan was “really a bridge,” as the company’s balance sheet and lease footprint are “not manageable,” the declaration said.

Casual dining chains have been struggling to stay afloat as lockdown measures force them to close restaurants. Pizza Hut franchisee’s NPC International Inc., the holding company of Chuck E. Cheese CEC Entertainment Inc. and the U.S. arm of Le Pain Quotidien, have sought bankruptcy protection since the pandemic started.

Also in Business

Coca-Cola is wading further into the market for boozy beverages with an alcoholic version of its popular Topo Chico mineral water. The soft drink giant, which aspires to be a "total beverage company," said it will offer Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in "select cities" in Latin America later this year. The company also confirmed to Bloomberg News that it plans to offer the product in the United States in 2021.

NBCUniversal's Peacock has signed up 10 million users, making the new streaming service a rare bright spot at Comcast Corp.'s pandemic-ravaged entertainment division. Comcast disclosed the early Peacock results while reporting its second-quarter earnings on Thursday. NBC has said it hopes Peacock will reach 30 million to 35 million active users by 2024. Peacock, which is free and supported by advertising, made its debut to Comcast subscribers in April and expanded nationwide on July 15.

Juul Labs has filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration to continue selling its e-cigarettes in the United States, the company announced Thursday, a highly anticipated milestone that will determine the fate of the once-highflying company. Juul said it is seeking authorization for its device as well as its Virginia tobacco and menthol-flavored pods with 3 percent and 5 percent nicotine concentrations. Mango, mint and other flavors that the company stopped offering last year after facing regulatory scrutiny for allegedly attracting minors weren't included.

— From news services