situation report

Venezuela: Washington Discusses Heavier Sanctions

1 MIN READApr 12, 2019 | 21:56 GMT

What Happened: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has met with finance ministers of the Lima Group — a multilateral body of 14 American countries that seeks a peaceful exit to the Venezuelan crisis — and representatives of other nations including Spain, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom to discuss potentially imposing heavier sanctions on Venezuela, according to an April 11 announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Why It Matters: The presence of European nations, such as Italy and Spain, at the meeting is notable as Italian and Spanish companies Eni and Repsol may be required to reduce their stakes in Venezuelan assets if the United States enacts secondary sanctions against the country. Both companies own stakes in a major natural gas block in Venezuela, and reduced gas production will further limit Venezuela's ability to extract crude oil.

Background: Repsol owns minority stakes in oil and gas blocks in Venezuela as well as a 50 percent stake in the Cardon 4 natural gas block.

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