Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is ordering foreign oil companies to pay much higher taxes, in a move to tighten state control over his country's vast petroleum resources.
Speaking Sunday in a television and radio broadcast, Mr. Chavez said the taxes will increase from less than one percent to 16.6 percent.
He said there is no reason foreign companies should continue paying low taxes.
Mr. Chavez said the increase will apply to foreign firms operating in the crude-rich area along the Orinoco River in southeastern Venezuela.
Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter in the world.