Russia's rising oil exports expose holes in output deal

jueves 24 de marzo de 2016 08:22 GYT

* Russia plans to sign deal next month on output freeze

* Yet exports in April to reach 30-month high

* Energy minister says deal covers output, not exports

* Growing exports could blunt effect of output freeze

By Olga Yagova and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW, March 24 (Reuters) - Russia will export more oil to Europe in April than it has in any month since 2013 - despite Moscow's plan to sign a global agreement on freezing production in a bid to lift the price of crude.

The fact Russian exports are rising illustrates how hard it will be to enforce the deal, due to be finalised on April 17 in Qatar, and shows the potential for countries to use loopholes to keep exporting crude, blunting the intended impact on prices.

Russia can raise exports while keeping production flat by re-routing some oil away from refineries and into exports. Moscow says the freeze covers production, not sales abroad.

The International Energy Agency said on Wednesday the deal may be meaningless. Iran and Libya have said they will not participate, at least for now, and they plan to raise production.   Continuación...