The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez
, wants Venezuela oil tankers going to places other than the US, according to a VHeadline report. Although the US is the No. 1 buyer of Venezuela oil, Chavez prefers to earn greater political power by selling oil at a discount to Caribbean and South American countries than at a premium to the US. Additionally, Chavez just increased the government's take of royalties on oil profits from 1% to 30% and increased the tax rate from 34% to 50%. As a result, any non-Venezuelan company is now required to turn over more than 75% of its profits to the Venezuelan government and an increasing amount of Venezuelan oil production is government controlled, according to the report.
At 9 million barrels of oil a day, Russia is a similarly important but highly volatile oil resource
. Russia almost rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's No. 1 producer of oil.