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Fracking in the Parana Basin, Brazil


In 2013 a consortium of Brazilian companies won licences to explore for gas in four onshore 'blocs' in Parana state. The consortium plans on conducting investigations to determine whether fracking is a necessary and appropriate technique to extract unconventional natural gas in the blocs located in the Parana basin.

There is strong opposition to the plans from the local population who have marched in the streets to protest the plans. Local residents have also taken to the streets to raise awareness among the population of the dangers of fracking. Public meetings have been held to debate fracking.

Individual councils across Parana are taking action to make fracking illegal by passing municipal laws.

In June 2014, a judge based in Cascavel suspended the licences awarded to companies to explore for gas in the Parana basin, on the basis that technical studies conducted into the effects of fracking were insufficient. The licences can only be re-obtained once robust technical-environmental studies have been conducted and once the National Environmental Council (Conselho Nacional do Meio Ambiente - Conama) has authorised the use of fracking. The ANP (National Petroleum Agency) attempted to appeal the suspension but was unsuccessful.

Toledo and Cascavel are the cities that face the highest risk from the dangers of fracking in the region.

The federal government is strongly in support of fracking across the whole of Brazil.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Fracking in the Parana Basin, Brazil
State or province:Parana
Location of conflict:Cascavel and Toledo (two different towns)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Shale gas fracking
Specific commodities:Natural Gas

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The consortium plans to conduct a four-year study to determine whether fracking is required and whether it would be economically viable to use this method to extract natural gas. Information has not been released about the potential quantities of natural gas present in the Parana basin.

The value of the consortium’s investment over the four year exploration period is estimated to be USD38,000,000 and the total estimated investment in the area (including investment from other companies) is expected to be USD66,120,000.

Level of Investment:66,120,000.00
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:428, 117
Start of the conflict:03/06/2014
Company names or state enterprises:Paraná Gás Exploração e Produção from Brazil
Companhia Paranaense de Energia (COPEL) from Brazil - COPEL has a 30% stake in the consortium.
Bayar Empreendimentos e Participações Ltda from Brazil - 30% stake in consortium
Petra Energia from Brazil - 30% stake in consortium
Tucumann Engenharia e Empreendimentos (TUCUMANN) from Brazil - 10% stake in consortium
Relevant government actors:The National Petroleum Agency (Agencia Nacional de Petroleo - ANP) - responsible for selling licences to explore.
A Associacao de Camaras de Vereadores do Oeste do Parana (Acamop) - The Association of City Councils of the West of Parana. Acamop has been bringing attention to the fracking issue since the beginning of 2014. Acamop set up a petition against fracking in February 2014, which it plans to take to the federal government in the country’s capital, Brasilia.
O Ministerio Publico Federal - the Federal Public Ministry.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coletivo Cascavel Livre de Fracking (Cascavel Free From Fracking Collective) - opposition group made up of local residents.

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsThere is a serious risk to the sustainability of Parana’s agriculture if water sources and soil are contaminated, which would cause a huge blow to the state’s economy. Parana ranks in the top five producing states in Brazil for soybeans, corn, sugarcane, cattle, pork and chicken and also produces wheat, rice, cotton and beans.
Explosions in the sub-soil - otherwise known as seismic shocks - caused by the fracturing of the rock, could cause damage to the structure and foundations of buildings and could lead to a reduction in house prices.


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Development of alternatives:Following a public street protest on 5th June 2014, the Federal Public Ministry (Ministerio Publico Federal –MPF) initiated a civil action to suspend the licences awarded to the consortium and other companies in the region.
On 26th August 2014, Cascavel municipal council introduced a law (law no. 101/2014) to ban the concession of licences for fracking in the municipality (10). The law is awaiting sanction by the mayor.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Until the law is officially sanctioned by the mayor it cannot be said that a success has been achieved. Even then, environmental justice will only have been served in the Cascavel municipality and not in Toledo, which is also at a serious risk from fracking.

Sources & Materials

Councillors in Rondon participate in fracking meeting in Cascavel, 12/06/14

Protest march against fracking unites 3000 people in Toledo, 04/06/14

Copel ignores environmental risks and invests in shale gas exploration , 11/12/13

Parana will have the greatest investment in natural gas exploration, 29/11/13

Toledo’s population goes to the streets against shale gas exploration, 04/06/14

Federal government centralizes shale gas in Ibama, 05/09/14

At a public hearing, Cascavel says no to fracking, 21/09/14

Councillors launch legal project to prohibit fracking, 26/09/14

Judge suspends licences to explore for shale gas in Parana, 05/06/14

Announcement of creation of consortium, 18/09/14

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

PPT presentation by Institut of Energy and Environment

University of São Paulo

Other documents

Banners used during the Toledo protest march, 03/06/14 The banner held by the boy reads 'Shale gas - contamination is arriving in the region'.

Protest march in Toledo, 03/06/14 0ver 3000 people marched to the headquarters of the state-owned energy company, COPEL, in Toledo. The march was organised by a local councillor.

Meta information

Contributor:Rhia Weston - [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019