Tax Authority: Oilfield Operators Have Paid US$54.4mn So Far

Venezuela's Seniat tax authority has received payments totaling 117bn bolivares (US$54.4mn) from private oilfield operators stemming from allegedly unpaid taxes corresponding to the period 2001-2004, a Seniat official told BNamericas.

The figure was reviewed during a senior staff meeting held on Thursday afternoon at Seniat HQ in Caracas and is the latest tally available, the official said.

So far only five companies have paid everything the tax authority has demanded: Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), US firm West Falcon Samson, Anglo-Dutch major Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) and Venezuela's Inemaka. Only three companies have not paid anything yet pending the resolution of legal recourses: Italy's Eni (NYSE: E), France's Total (NYSE: TOT) and China's CNPC.

"Outside these three, every company approached has paid something up front," the official said on condition of anonymity. US oil firm Harvest Natural Resources (NYSE:HNR), for example, paid a fraction of what Seniat asked for and then filed an administrative resource still pending.

In addition four more companies will be presented with claims related to their 2001-2004 tax filings in coming weeks: US firm Chevron (NYSE: CVX), UK company BP (NYSE: BP), Colombia's Hocol and Venezuela's Open. These are the last four companies to be presented with reparations as part of the current investigation, the official said.

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