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Refinaria Abreu e Lima (RNEST), Pernambuco, Brazil

Workers defend strike claiming labor rights and better working conditions at the Abreu e Lima Refinery - Industrial Complex of Suape - PE - Brazil


---Abaixo em português------ Abreu e Lima Refinery (RNEST) started in 2007 and opened in 2010. Operations began in 2014 with the first set of units (Train I). It is located in the Industrial Port Complex of Suape, Pernambuco. Among all Brazilian refineries, RNEST has the highest crude oil conversion rate (70%).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Refinaria Abreu e Lima (RNEST), Pernambuco, Brazil
State or province:Pernambuco
Location of conflict:Ipojuca
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

-Refinaria Abreu e Lima S.A. is engaged in the refining, processing, commercialization, import, export, and transportation of petroleum and its derivatives, and related biofuels.

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project13.4 billion
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:13,000
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Petróleo Brasileiro S.A (PETROBRAS) from Brazil - OWNER
Odebrecht from Brazil
OAS S.A. from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Ministério Público, Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego (TEM).
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Sindicato dos Trabalhadores na Indústria do Petróleo de Pernambuco e Paraíba (Sindipetro); Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT).
Supporters: Federação Nacional dos Trabalhadores na Construção Pesada, Força Sindical, Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos de São Paulo e de Mogi das Cruzes, Força sindical de Pernambuco, Movimentos Sociais, Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Construção Pesada em Pernambuco (Sintepav-PE).
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Industrial workers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Trade unions
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Reclaim of improvement of working conditions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil contamination, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Accidents, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Some negotiations have been held to improve working conditions but this is not enough for the local people.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Santana dos Santos, Mariana Olívia; da Silva Augusto, Lia Giraldo; Rebelo Neto, Antônio Júlio; de Azevedo Mello, Isaltina Maria; Gomes Dantas Gurgel, Idê

La invisibilidad en los periódicos de Pernambuco de las vulnerabilidades socioambientales en la construcción de la refinería de petróleo en Suape/PE

Espacio Abierto, vol. 26, núm. 2, abril-junio, 2017, pp. 99-116

Universidad del Zulia

Maracaibo, Venezuela
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Petrobras paralisa unidade da Refinaria Abreu e Lima após incêndio
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Racha sindical exposto por conflito na Refinaria Abreu e Lima
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Petrobras pagou o dobro por obras na refinaria Abreu e Lima
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Em PE, trabalhadores da Refinaria Abreu e Lima paralisam atividades
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Refinaria Abreu e Lima
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Revoltados, trabalhadores transformam Refinaria Abreu e Lima em palco de guerra
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Other comments:The day of July 11, 2013 was marked by the National Day of Struggle and the workers of the Industrial Complex of Suape and the RNEST.
Meta information
Contributor: Cremilda Alves (FIOCRUZ- Pernambuco) and Grettel Navas (ENVJustice)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3985
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