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Anti-fracking movement and Petrobras Shale Gas Exploration Field AC-T-8 – Vale do Juruá, Brazil

A victory for the environmental justice in Brazil. Suspension of shale gas exploration by use of fracking at the Vale do Juruá (Amazonas and Acre), in a campaign by COESUS that reaches other states also.


In 2013, Brazilian National Oil Agency – ANP (Agência Nacional de Petróleo) prepared its 12th Auction of Oil and Gas Exploration Areas. Among these, there were the “blocos¨ or areas located in the Vale do Juruá region – (Center-North part of the State of Acre and West of the state of Amazonas). It sits directly on top of the Aquifer Juruá: one of the Amazon´s most important aquifers. It is also located next to two indigenous territories, belonging to the Nukini and the Poyanawá. The concession area AC-T-8, according to ANP, could be destined for shale gas exploration through hydraulic fracking. This caused major consternation among social-environmental movements and civil society. The Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC), CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Council) and anti-fracking movements such as COESUS (No-Fracking in Brazil Coalition) are among those agents that started the mobilization against the exploration in the region. The possible application of hydraulic fracking  caused even more concern due to the uncertainties and great environmental risks involved in the activity. Although certain mobilization was in course, the ANP went ahead with the auction. In it, Brazilian Oil/Gas Company Petrobras acquired the areas for exploration in the region. One year later, mobilization from social movements already encompassed civil society in a wider discussion regarding fracking in Brazil, whereas before, it was mostly unheard of. Due to the greater attention received in overall Brazilian media and civil society, resistance against fracking became stronger – including a significant victories of social movements in the State of Paraná, the state of Piauí and other states against the exploration of shale gas. As such, in 2015 the ANP launched its 13th Auction of Oil and Gas Exploration Areas. This was a time for more mobilization, including a stronger participation of civil society. This way, the Federal Public Office through its attorney in Cruzeiro do Sul - the State of Acre managed to secure a suspension of the auctioning and exploration of areas destined to hydraulic fracking. The Brazilian Procuradoria Office (general attorney)  assumed an anti-fracking position. It is a partner to civil society in resisting against the activity. The claims made against fracking (accepted by Brazilian Federal Justice) are that the  activity has most grave environmental and social risk of impacts. Scientists have shown the impacts in water contamination from fracking – generating thus more concern over this extractive activity. Such claims are finding resonance in Brazil among diverse groups and agents in society and as such, resistance against fracking has come a long way. Probably from hearing these outcries within society, Petrobras has declared that the contract for exploration does not infer that it will be a shale gas production but rather conventional gas and oil production. The suspension of shale gas exploration by use of fracking at the Vale do Juruá region still holds. It mainly holds because in Brazil there is in place a dominant narrative regarding the uncertainties and the risks involving fracking activity. This provides resistance movements a substantial argument to reinforce resistance against shale gas exploration, especially in protected areas such as Vale do Juruá – a region rich in biodiversity. A discursive reversal which appeals to exploration in these areas might grant pro-exploration enthusiasts an upper-hand and push through the auction of these areas. 

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Anti-fracking movement and Petrobras Shale Gas Exploration Field AC-T-8 – Vale do Juruá, Brazil
State or province:Amazonas and Acre
Location of conflict:Vale do Juruá
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Water access rights and entitlements
Specific commodities:Land
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The concession area AC-T-8, according to ANP, could be destined for shale gas exploration under the method of hydraulic fracking.

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Project area:163,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project12.000.000,00 (first phase)
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:2013
Company names or state enterprises:Petróleo Brasileiro S.A (PETROBRAS) from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Petrobras ( Petróleo Brasileiro S.A); Agência Nacional de Petróleo – Brazilian National Agency for Oil; Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Ibama); Ministério Público Federal (MPF);
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:COESUS- Coalizão Não Fracking Brasil; Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC), CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Council); international campaign Brazil; Fundação Cooperlivre Arayara;
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
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
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:A Latin America alliance against shale gas fracking is developing, from Brasil to Argentina (Neuquén), born from the successes in Paraná, Piauí, Sao Paulo, Alagoas, Amazonas and Acre in Brazil.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Up to now (mid-2017) and due to the strengthening of participation and the coalition against fracking in Brazil the Federal Court of Brazil has banned the use of fracking in the state of Alagoas, Piauí, Sao Paulo, Acre, and Paraná. This specific project was suspended by Judicial order from Brazilian Federal Courts in 2016.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No. 169)

Nova vitória na luta contra o Fracking no Vale do Juruá
[click to view]

Blocos na Bacia do Acre e exploração de gás de xisto: respostas à Folha de S. Paulo
[click to view]

Acre: Extração de gás de xisto no Vale do Juruá pode inviabilizar agronegócio
[click to view]

Vale do Juruá livre do fracking: Liminar suspende exploração de petróleo e gás de xisto no Acre e Amazonas
[click to view]

Gás e Petroléo: ‘Os principais afetados seríamos todos nós’, diz procurador
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Coalizão Não Fracking Brasil
[click to view]

FRACKING: na nossa terra NÃO!
[click to view]

La campaña No-Fracking Brasil cruza las fronteras en Latinoamérica
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:F. and G.N (ENVJustice Project)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3017
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