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EL ESPECTADOR

As Oil Reserves Decline, Colombia Looks To Fracking

Colombia may have massive shale oil and gas reserves that could cover the decline in its crude output, but environmentalists are raising alarms.

Laborers work to extract oil in Colombia
Laborers work to extract oil in Colombia
El Espectador

BOGOTÁ — In the past three years, Colombia has seen a depletion of some 500 million barrels of crude from its national oil reserves, a bona fide threat to its energy self-sufficiency.

To counter this, Colombian energy leaders have begun to consider a turn to so-called "fracking," or hydraulic fracturing, the technique used to extract crude oil from shale stone. The national oil form Ecopetrol, which produces 70% of the country's oil, announced early this year a 14% drop in its oil reserves thanks to low prices — a disincentive to exploration — and may even have lost up to 20% of its reserves because of this.

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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