Petrobras@ (Adds background, comments from 3rd paragraph)
SAO PAULO, June 1 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-owned power utility Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA has asked the country's oil industry watchdog ANP to mediate a conflict with Petróleo Brasileiro SA, the regulator said on Thursday.
Eletrobras, as the power firm is known, wants state-controlled oil company Petrobras to supply natural gas to its thermal plant Mauá 3, in the Amazon region, which on Thursday initiated tests needed to begin operations.
Eletrobras owes Petrobras around 9.8 billion reais ($3 billion). On Wednesday, Petrobras Chief Executive Pedro Parente said that finding a solution for Eletrobras' debt is "essential."
Earlier this week, a court forced Petrobras to supply Eletrobras with enough natural gas to power the plant's initial tests but not enough to allow it to operate normally..
In a statement sent to Reuters, ANP said it was considering a mediation or arbitration.
Representatives for Eletrobras and Petrobras did not comment immediately on the mediation. ($1 = 3.2510 reais) (Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Sandra Maler)