Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled gas export monopoly, could produce less gas this year than expected if demand in Europe keeps falling, chief executive Alexei Miller said.

“From May we have seen a sharp decline in gas consumption in southern Europe,” he added. “If the tendency persists, then I can suggest that for 2010 our output will be lower than forecast.”

He also said the slump could be blamed on the current economic woes, reports Reuters.

Gazprom has previously said it expected to produce 519 billion cubic metres this year.

Miller said the future of Gazprom’s supply to Europe was largely dependent on how much gas Europe produced.