CARACAS Jan 28 Venezuela is changing its oil windfall tax bands under which the government raises income for social spending and other purposes, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Monday.
Widening a previous sliding scale, state company PDVSA and foreign partners will have to pay the state 20 percent of income from sales of oil between $55-80 per barrel, 80 percent between $80-100, 90 percent between $100-110, and 95 percent over $110.
President Hugo Chavez, currently battling to recover from cancer surgery, first introduced a windfall tax in 2008 of up to 60 percent on revenues from oil prices over $100 per barrel, based on the ideas of Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz.
In 2011, the taxes were ratcheted up to a maximum of 95 percent for oil over $100, bringing in timely extra revenue before last year's presidential election that Chavez won.
The OPEC member's oil sector has been the driving force of Chavez's socialist reforms, contributing funds to a wide array of education, health, housing, sports and other programs.
At a news conference, Ramirez added that PDVSA and Rosneft agreed in recent days to an investment plan of $37.7 billion until 2021 to develop various projects in the Orinoco belt to produce 1.1 million bpd.