Brazilian oil and gas regulator ANP has ordered the temporary closure of 37 production facilities of state-run oil company Petrobras in the state of Bahia, the company said in a statement on Dec. 12.

Petrobras said the watchdog had ordered the closure after a local audit without detailing the reasons for the decision. ANP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The company is taking the necessary measures to safely stop the facilities and reaffirms that it carries out its operations in accordance with the most rigorous international standards for safety, health and respect for the environment," it added.

Local union Sindipetro-Ba said that ANP technicians auditing the facilities from Dec. 5 had found irregularities there without giving more details.

It said the regulator had recommended the total suspension of operations at the facilities until Petrobras fixes the problems there.

The union estimates the affected plants produce 20,000 bbl/d of oil and some 4 billion reais (US$751.51 million) in yearly gross revenue.