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Financial Times: Shell faces fresh Venezuelan tax bill

By Mark Odell

Published: November 25 2006 02:00 | Last updated: November 25 2006 02:00: Venezuelan tax authorities have hit Royal Dutch Shell with a $17.7m (£9.3m) tax bill.

The claim is thought to cover 2005 after the company settled a $13m tax bill for the 2001 to 2004 period earlier this year but Shell was unable to confirm the exact nature of the latest charge.

“The tax department is currently studying the claim but it is to early to comment,” Shell said last night.

The tax bill comesagainst a backdrop of increasing pressure on international oil companies by the left-wing nationalist government of president Hugo Chávez.

Earlier this year, Venezuela forced international oil companies into giving the state majority stakes in 32 existing operating licences that were pumping 500,000 barrels of oil per day, including Shell’s only producing field – Urdaneta Oeste in Lake Maracaibo,in the west of thecountry.

The Anglo-Dutch company also has a lubricants plant in Valencia, central Venezuela. Mark Odell

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006

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