(Adds details on dispute between Petrobras and Eletrobras)
SAO PAULO May 30 A Brazilian court ordered
state-controlled oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SA to
sell natural gas to Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA
despite the power utility's billionaire debt with the oil
Eletrobras, as the state-controlled utility is known, plans
to use the gas to begin testing a thermal power station under
construction in the Amazon region that is scheduled to start
operating in June.
Reuters had reported on Feb. 22 that Petrobras had refused
to supply natural gas to test the so-called Mauá 3 plant because
Eletrobras and some of its subsidiaries did not pay several
billion reais for fuel supplies.
The 590-megawatt Mauá 3 thermal plant is close to
completion, but is at risk of not getting the gas to run on.
Petrobras will now be forced to sell enough natural gas to
allow the testing to take place, the oil firm said in a
statement to Reuters, but not the amount needed for the plant to
In its first-quarter financial statements, Petrobras said
Eletrobras owed Petrobras 9.8 billion reais ($3 billion), of
which 8.2 billion reais stemmed from the power firm's subsidiary
in the Amazon region.
A media representative for the subsidiary Eletrobras
Amazonas Energia said the parties were in talks and that it
would comment on the court dispute "in a timely manner."
($1 = 3.2603 reais)
(Reporting by Luciano Costa and Bruno Federowski; editing by