If it cannot sell the gas, Russia may have to close fields, which could affect future production.

Production in the first half of August was 36% lower than in the same two weeks last year, according to ICIS figures.

Production since June is also lower than in 2020, when demand fell due to the pandemic, Marzec-Manser noted.

The fall in gas production comes after the International Energy Agency warned last week that Western sanctions against Russia had only a “limited impact” on Russian oil production.

The IEA said demand rose in India, China and Turkey even as exports to Europe and the United States fell, easing the financial impact of sanctions on the Kremlin.

Russian oil production in July was less than 3% below pre-war levels.

Falling gas exports from Russia have pushed gas prices in Europe and the UK to record highs, triggering a major cost of living crisis and soaring inflation.

It also weighed on Russia’s coffers, as higher prices compensate for lost volumes.

In a stern warning yesterday, Gazprom claimed that gas prices in Europe this winter could soar above $4,000 per 1,000 cubic meters, which would equate to around 372 euros per megawatt hour, around 40% more than current high prices.