Monagas City Govt Suing International Oil Companies

Monagas municipality in eastern Venezuela's oil and gas-rich AnzoŠtegui state is suing international oil companies and JVs for alleged nonpayment of municipal taxes, El Universal newspaper reported.

Specifically, Monagas is suing the following companies: US oil major ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP); Norway's state oil firm Statoil (NYSE: STO); and France's Total (NYSE: TOT).

Further, Monagas is suing Sincor and Petrozuata, two Orinoco joint ventures in which ConocoPhillips, Statoil and Total are partners with state oil firm PDVSA.

Monagas mayor Rafael Puerta went before a tax court in AnzoŠtegui capital Barcelona to start legal action, requiring the companies to pay 376bn bolivares (US$175mn) in taxes plus accrued interests.

The mayor claims he notified the companies of his intentions to collect taxes last year to no avail.

The central government aims to increase PDVSA's stake in all four Orinoco projects to 60% from its existing 40%.

Company and joint venture officials in Caracas declined to comment on Tuesday afternoon.

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