Severe water shortages in Brazil have forced the country to adopt a gas-fired power strategy in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup.

June’s kick-off was under threat of suffering power cuts as ongoing drought impacted on the country’s critical hydroelectric power generation capacities.

A blackout in February indicated the potential problems ahead when it cut electricity to 6 million people.

As a means of getting around the problem, Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) has begun to purchase record amount of liquefied natural gas in order to supply the country’s natural gas-fired power generation fleet.

Wolrd Cup Brazil stadium 2014

These plants are being run at full capacity in order to preserve water reserves.

Latin America’s biggest economy typically meets 70 percent of power demand from hydroelectric supplies and by using this strategy it is planned to ensure hydroelectric stations will function optimally when most required during the June/ July tournament.

“They’re running gas plants at maximum capacity now, buying time for rains to help replenish water reservoirs,” said Javier Diaz, an analyst at Bentek told Bloomberg. “It’s a smart move, otherwise it would be a disaster if they suffer with power outages during the World Cup.”

The soccer governing body FIFA says that during games the essential areas will run on generators and have a backup electricity supply to prevent interruptions.

“Any use of energy also takes place by means of redundancy,” it said in an e-mailed statement. “Thus, if there’s failure at some point, another system is always ready to replace the original.”

The nation’s system has enough thermal capacity to complement hydroelectric generation, Brazil’s Energy Minister Edison Lobao said earlier this month, after the last monthly meeting of its electricity sector monitoring committee.

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