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Thermoelectric Complex Parnaíba, Maranhao, Brazil

ENEVA operates one of the largest natural gas-fuelled thermoelectric power generation complexes in Brazil. Local communities (such as "quebradeiras de coco") complain about pollution, health and environmental damage.


The Thermoelectric Complex Parnaíba is located in the Maranhao State. This project is the largest natural gas-fueled thermoelectric power complex in Brazil and is made-up by four plants; together they reach 845 MW. The plants are synchronized with the Interconnected National System (SIN). The natural gas supplied to the plants of the Parnaíba Complex plants comes from the production wells in the Parnaíba Basin, and represents approximately 40% of the Brazilian onshore production.  This project was inaugurated in 2013. But it has being built since 2009 supported by different financial sources such as World Bank and Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).  It is s a joint venture between MPX (ENEVA), OGX Maranhão and Petra Energia S.A. It was built by Duro Felguera (Spain).  In 2011, OGX Maranhão (ENEVA) receives the preliminary license for the Natural Gas Production in the Parnaíba Basin.  During the construction of the project, traditional communities (quilombolas and quebradeiras de coco babaçu) together with local and national organizations  (Sociedade Maranhense de Direitos Humanos (SMDH), Asociaçao de Mulheres Quebradeiras de Coco (AMUQUEC) and other EJOS put a demand for ask for compensation and denouncing damage in the environment , shortage of palms of coco babaçu (main activity of women along the forest), noise pollution,  pollution of rivers where fishermen used to fish, water scarcity and damage to their livelihoods.  According to the communities denouncing the facts, one person affected by noise and stress committed suicide. There also some supporters such as priesst and Asamblea de Deus organization. Beyond the judicial demand, some actions such as public demonstrations, damage to the company´s property and blockages were also deployed. In 2014, the court decided in favor of the local communities and forced the company (ENEVA) to resettle the affected families; "In a non-renewable period of 180 days. To be made effective resettlement, under appropriate conditions, all the families affected by the Parnaíba Thermoelectric Complex. The process must comply with the conditions stipulated in the resettlement plan approved by the SEMA, the environmental impact assessment and the agreement signed with the affected people." In 2015-2016 the company has begun the resettlements but the livelihoods of the communities have extremely changed and the pollution continues. 

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Thermoelectric Complex Parnaíba, Maranhao, Brazil
State or province:Maranhão
Location of conflict:Demanda, Santo Antonio dos Lopes
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Thermal power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

ENEVA reported in 2015 thatit operates one of the largest natural gas-fueled thermoelectric power generation complexes in Brazil, a pioneering project that integrates natural gas production to power generation. The Parnaíba Complex comprises the thermoelectric plants Parnaíba I, Parnaíba II, Parnaíba III and Parnaíba IV, which are installed in the municipality of Santo Antônio dos Lopes, in the state of Maranhão. The gas used as fuel for the plants is produced in the exploratory blocks of Parnaíba Gás Natural, in the Parnaíba Basin.

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Level of Investment:230,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:14,200
Start of the conflict:05/2011
Company names or state enterprises:MPX Energia S.A (renamed ENEVA) (ENEVA) from Brazil - owner
Duro Felguera (DF) from Spain - CONSTRUCTION
ENEVA from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Ministery of Mines, Government of Brazil, Government of the State of Maranhnao, National Agency of Electric Energy (ANEEL), Secretaria de Estado de Meio Ambiente (SEMA),
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Human Rights Society of Maranhao (SMDH), Pastoral Comission of Earth, Comisao Pastoral da Terra (CPT-MA), Cáritas, Landless Workers' Movement (MST), Quilombola Movement (MOQUIBOM), Human Rights Society of Maranhao (SMDH), Asociaçao de Mulheres Quebradeiras de Coco (AMUQUEC)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Noise pollution
Potential: Global warming
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Specific impacts on women, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:Alternatives were already on the ground before the construction of this project. Traditional communities (mostly women) used the forest to extract coco babaçu to sell oil and other products. And men used to work in agriculture.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The court decided in favor of the environmental justice organizations and one of the solutions was the resettlement of the affected communities. But traditional activities such as extraction of coco babaçu by women groups and agriculture activities have been interrupted. With this project the economy and livelihoods of these families have changed changed. The project is in operation.
Sources & Materials

ENEVA official page of the project
[click to view]

Maranhão: MP E MPF Ingressam Com Ação Em Defesa De Comunidades Afetadas Por Termelétricas
[click to view]

Complexo Parnaíba é inaugurado em Santo Antônio dos Lopes, no MA
[click to view]

04/05/2016 - ENEVA inaugura o Reassentamento Nova Demanda em Santo Antônio dos Lopes
[click to view]

Comunidades Impactadas pelo Complexo Termelétrico Parnaíba. Mapa da FIOCRUZ
[click to view]

Impactos ambientais sofridos por famílias vizinhas a termelétrica serão debatidos em audiência
[click to view]

Complexo Parnaíba de geração de energia é oficialmente inaugurado
[click to view]

SANTO ANTÔNIO DOS LOPES - MPMA e MPF ingressam com ação em defesa de comunidades afetadas por termelétricas
[click to view]

MA – Comunidade denuncia empresa Eneva (ex-MPX Energia S.A.) por descumprimento de acordo, poluição e violações de direitos
[click to view]

Other documents

BRIGA COM PODEROSOS – resistência camponesa face à expropriação por grandes projetos em Santo Antonio dos Lopes, MA Thesis
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:ENVJustice (G.N)
Last update18/08/2019
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