Venezuela sharply raised taxes on four oil projects Tuesday and a top official predicted enactment of a law giving the government control over all crude production in the South American country.
The nation’s congress approved a bill Tuesday that hikes the income tax rate to 50% for six foreign oil companies working in oil ventures in Venezuela’s oil-rich Orinoco River basin. The six companies are ConocoPhillips Co., Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Norway’s Statoil, France’s Total and Britain’s BP.
Deputy Oil Minister Bernard Mommer said the congress planned to approve by December legislation allowing the state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela to take a majority stake in those same ventures.
The state-owned company currently holds minority stakes in the four Orinoco projects, which extract and upgrade heavy crude. They are the last remaining oil-producing operations in the country not yet under government control. Some oil exploration efforts, however, remain under the control of private companies.
The Orinoco projects produce 600,000 barrels of oil a day.