By means of Circular No. 4007 of 25 March 2020, the Ministry of Mines and Energy set out some considerations on the understanding of paragraphs 13 and 25 of Article 3 of Decree 457 of 2020, by which the National Government ordered the preventive isolation of all inhabitants of Colombia for a period of 19 days.
Paragraphs 13 and 25 refer to exceptions to the restrictions on freedom of movement. Respectively, they establish exceptions for:
(i) activities of public officers and State contractors that are strictly necessary to guarantee the functioning of indispensable State services; and
(ii) activities necessary to ensure the operation, maintenance, storage and supply of the provision of public electric power services, and the logistical chain of inputs and supplies for the production, supply, import, export and supply of hydrocarbons, liquid fuels, biofuels, natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas.
Thus, for the first exception, the Ministry of Mines and Energy considers as essential services for the operation of the State the emergency services, a and the disaster prevention and monitoring services of natural phenomena at the national level . Meaning, among others, the monitoring of volcanic and seismic activity by the Colombian Geological Survey and the services for the transfer and transportation of supplies, personnel and equipment for emergency response in the energy sector.
And, for the second exception, the Ministry of Mines and Energy understands that the activities and personnel related to the continuity in the provision of public services associated with the energy sector (including the production chain and the input and supply chain) required for their proper provision, are also included within the exception.
In this sense, the transfer of cargo and material, including raw materials, infrastructure, spare parts and waste residues, in trunks and vehicles of, distribution and delivery of LPG, compressed natural gas, liquid fuels and biofuels, is within the exception.
In addition, the transfer and transportation, including air transportation, and the operation of personnel required to guarantee the services associated with the hydrocarbon sector, is also referred to in this exception, which includes to the suppliers, contractors, direct workers, management team and other personnel for services associated with the hydrocarbon sector. Among these services, the Ministry includes the following: natural gas, compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas.
In relation to fuel oils, there are covered by the exception all activities necessary to maintain the infrastructure of the fuel chain agents: production inputs, import, export and supply, both of liquid fuels, biofuels, natural gas and LPG, as well as its refining and distribution.
Finally, the transfer, transportation and distribution of crude oil, thinner, raw materials for production of biofuels, lubricants, petrochemical products and industrial products such as asphalt, sulfur, petroleum coke and fuel oil are also covered by the exception.
In other words, the activities and services described above, and any others mentioned in Circular No. 4007 of 2020, will be considered exceptions to the restriction on free movement decreed by the National Government, since they all seek to ensure continuity in the provision of essential State services, given that it refers to the proper and necessary functioning of the energy sector in Colombia.