BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases dropped more than 16% during April, May and June compared to the same quarter a year ago because of a decline in activity in the western oil patch.

It is only the second such quarterly decline since 2009, but officials say they're not surprised nor too concerned given the tremendous growth in taxable sales and purchases the state has experienced in recent years.

A Today in Energy brief from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Algeria is reforming its laws to attract foreign investment in hydrocarbons. Algeria is the third-largest oil producer in Africa, after Nigeria and Angola, and the largest natural gas producer in Africa. However, production of both oil and natural gas has declined over the past decade.

OK, I’m a sucker for natural gas. Maybe I’ve learned something these past 25 years that George Mitchell tried to explain: natural gas is the fuel of the future and can revitalize America. After I read this story off the Reuters news wire, can you blame me?

With liquids pipeline incidents down by half since 1999, even as their use to transport crude oil pipeline has increased, there is little doubt among experts about what has led to this success on the safety front – preventive maintenance and integrity management programs.

Russia’s Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) have confirmed that construction is underway on the 4,000-km Power of Serbia Pipeline that will deliver up to 38 Bcma of gas to China.

The first joint of pipe for the Chinese sector of the project was recently welded near the city of Heibe in the northern Heilongjiang Province bordering Russia, according to CNPC. Russia started building its section of the 2,500-mile eastern route last year. The pipeline is due to become fully operational in late 2017.

Pipeline & Gas Journal’s 11th annual Pipeline Opportunities Conference brought in 400 attendees from throughout North America, all focused on getting the most up-to-date information regarding the oil and natural gas industry.

In addition to a full day’s worth of conference presentations and roundtables, guests had ample time to network during the even held March 24 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston’s Galleria district.

P&GJ’s 2015 international pipeline survey indicates 70,308 miles of pipeline are in various stages of construction or planned. Of these, 32,013 miles account for projects in the planning and engineering phase, while 38,295 miles are in various stages of construction.

NiSource Inc. and Columbia Pipeline Group announced July 2 separation of the two companies was completed through a distribution of all the common stock of CPG held by NiSource to its shareholders.

NiSource, based in Merrillville, IN, is one of the largest natural gas utility companies in the United States with over 3.5 million customers in seven states under the Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. The company also provides electric distribution, generation and transmission services for 500,000 NIPSCO customers in northern Indiana.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. Geological Survey report out Tuesday downgrades the fracking potential of California's vast Monterey Shale oil deposits.

The study is the latest to lower a 2011 federal energy estimate that billed the Monterey Shale as a game-changer for U.S. oil, with what was then estimated at 13.7 Bbbls of recoverable oil overall.

Instead, the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) new study said, the most oil-rich portion of the giant shale formation holds just 21 MMbbls of oil that can be recovered by intensive methods, such as hydraulic fracturing, better-known as fracking.

U.S. inventories of propane and propylene reached 97.7 million barrels as of September 11, the highest level in the 22 years that EIA has collected weekly propane inventory statistics. In the first six months of 2015, U.S. propane and propylene inventories were 24.3 million barrels higher on average compared to the same period in 2014. In the past year, nearly all of the increase in inventories occurred in the Gulf Coast region (PADD3).

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