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Paraguay (the Republic of Paraguay) is a landlocked country bordered by Argentina to the south, Brazil to the east, and Bolivia to the north. It is sometimes referred to as the Heart of South America.

Guaraní semi-nomadic tribes were living in the area for thousands of years before Spanish explorers visited in 1516 and settled in 1537, introducing Christianity. However, it was always a peripheral colony of the Spanish Empire with a small population. Guaraní culture in a very mixed race society still remains influential.

Gaining independence from Spain in 1811 (unofficial until 1842), the country was ruled by a series of dictators with protectionist policies. In 1864 it waged a war against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay and had been massively defeated by 1870. The war reduced the population dramatically and substantial lands were ceded to Argentina and Brazil.

Through the 20th century unstable military dictatorships continued although it did win a 3-year war with Bolivia (the Chaco War) in 1935. In 1989 the last dictator was overthrown  and free multi-party elections were held in 1993.

With its agriculture and minerals export economy, Paraguay has recently experienced rapid economic expansion.

Paraguay is one of two land-locked countries in South America, the other being Bolivia. It is divided by the Paraguay River into two geographic regions, the eastern Región Oriental and the western Región Occidental also known as the Chaco.

The country has 5 sedimentary basins but no production. The Carandayty and Curupayty sub-basins extend from Bolivia where they produce gas (Chaco basin). The Pirity and Pilar sub-basins extend from Argentina where they have analogies with the productive Olmedo basin (also called Chaco). The Parana basin runs from Brazil, through Paraguay into Argentina and Uruguay and has some gas finds in Brazil.

Over 50 exploratory wells have been drilled over the years, many in the early 1970s. Small companies still regularly evaluate the prospects of these basins. There has been no successful drilling although oil shows have been often reported. Globalshift does not forecast any commercial oil or gas production in the short or medium term.

The country is also a producer of electricity owing to its stakes in the Itaipu, Acaray, and Yacyreta hydroelectric dams. It exports electricity to Brazil and Argentina.


Map and National Flag


Bamboo avenue

South America


E and P


Oil and gas summary



Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)



6.4 mm






Brief history of the country

Paraguay is a representative democratic republic with a multi-party system and separation of powers into 3 branches.

Executive power is exercised by the President, who is head of state. Legislative power is vested in 2 chambers of the National Congress.

Petróleos Paraguayos (Petropar) is the NOC with a monopoly on all petroleum product sales and imports. It operates the country’s only refinery at Villa Elisa.

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