Venezuela slaps big levy on Conoco

From Times Wire Services

Venezuela said it had levied the largest tax bill in the nation’s history on an oil project led by ConocoPhillips, the lone holdout in President Hugo Chavez’s oil nationalization crusade.

The move came days after the nation’s energy minister said Venezuela was in “conflict” with Conoco over its refusal to sign an accord recognizing the OPEC nation’s takeover of four multibillion-dollar Orinoco heavy crude projects May 1.

The Seniat tax authority said it had hit the Petrozuata oil project, 50.1% owned by Conoco, with a tax claim of more than $465 million.