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What's Wrong with Brazil's Once-Thought-Indestructible Petrobras PDF Print E-mail
2013 - July 2013
Written by B. Michael Rubin   
Monday, 22 July 2013 15:28

Brazil's Petrobras rigIt is widely believed that the countries which best manage their energy needs today will have the most productive economic futures. Until now, Brazil has been among an elite group of countries facing an optimistic energy future. For most of the past decade, Brazil has been "energy independent", limiting its total consumption of energy to what it could produce. (In fact, Brazil has imported some oil and gas, but at approximately the same levels it was exporting.)

However, recently the news regarding Brazil's energy future is not as healthy. Oil production is falling at Petrobras. In 2012, its production fell 2%, the first such decline in years. Compounding a fall in oil production, Petrobras has also been forced to import gasoline, exposing Brazil to the fluctuations in the global energy markets. Even the nation's ethanol industry, once envied as a model of renewable energy, has had to import ethanol from the United States.

Brazil's demand for gasoline surged about 20% in 2012, reflecting a car-manufacturing industry that has boomed, partly as a result of a government stimulus through lowered taxation. José Carlos Cosenza, a Petrobras executive, has warned that Brazil may need to import large amounts of gas for almost another decade. Gasoline demand is expected to climb even higher as Brazilians buy more cars.

Petrobras still lacks enough refineries able to process crude oil, forcing it to buy increasing amounts of gasoline from abroad. And it is still losing money on gasoline imports as the government limits increases in gas prices to keep inflation from accelerating in a slow-growing economy.

Five years ago, Brazilians were celebrating the discovery of huge amounts of oil in deep-sea deposits about 250 kilometers off the coast of Rio. The discovery, originally named Tupi, but now called the Lula oil field, was the largest oil discovery in the Western Hemisphere in the last 30 years. Many energy experts predicted the discovery would launch Brazil into the top ranks of global oil producers.

Nevertheless, today Petrobras is struggling. Energy experts cite several reasons why the giant energy company is not performing up to expectation. First, there's Brazil's economy. In 2010, GDP growth was at 7.5%, while in 2012 it slowed to less than 1%. Even in Latin America, countries like Peru and Mexico are outperforming Brazil. With a sluggish economy comes lower tax revenue, which means less investments from the government available for Petrobras.

Second, thanks in strong part to the Lula oil field, huge additional investments in Petrobras are needed at this time. The rich new oil deposits are located in deep-water locations, requiring special drilling equipment that Petrobras doesn't have.

Also, greater safety measures, which require additional investment, are necessary to excavate these deep-water deposits in order to avoid the kind of disaster that BP faced in the Gulf of Mexico in the US with its Deepwater Horizon oil spill. That explosion and subsequent spill cost BP the lives of 11 oil-rig workers and was the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the industry.

Besides the loss of life, BP has already paid billions of dollars in fines to the US government and still faces the possibility of billions more resulting from civil law suits from fishermen and home owners affected by the giant spill in the Gulf.

The third element that is crippling Petrobras is the current government in Brazil, which has demanded that Petrobras acquire all the necessary new equipment for excavating the oil from the Lula oil field with Brazilian technology. While this equipment is readily available from other countries, the government believes it's better to produce the equipment inside the country, even if it takes longer and costs more.

Thus Petrobras is now being forced to buy ships, oil platforms, and other equipment from Brazilian companies. But these ventures have struggled with large cost overruns, sometimes delivering equipment or vessels late or not at all, cutting into Petrobras' hopes of meeting ambitious production targets.

As a result, Petrobras has been placed in an impossible position. Not only have the Lula oil field operations yet to go into production, but other major projects are being delayed while the company focuses its financial and technical resources on the Lula field.

"Petrobras was once thought indestructible, but that is no longer the case," said Adriano Pires, a prominent Brazilian energy consultant. "Petrobras is now a tool of short-term economic policy, used to protect domestic industry from competition and fight inflation. This disastrous process will intensify if it is not reversed."

President Dilma Rousseff, like her predecessor and political mentor, Lula, has relied heavily on state companies like Petrobras to create jobs and spur the economy. As a result, the president and her top advisers argue, unemployment remains near historic lows in Brazil, an approach to economic management that contrasts sharply with Europe and the United States, where high unemployment is crippling economic growth.

Dilma notes that Petrobras is building new refineries, pursuing offshore oil, and buying most of its equipment from Brazilian companies, all of which have created tens of thousands of jobs and delivered some tangible political benefits.

The government's relationship with Petrobras has not always been so close. In the 1990s, the government ended Petrobras' monopoly. The company remained under state control but it became a hybrid organization, both state-owned and private, like a few other organizations in Brazil, such as Caixa Econômica, one of Brazil's largest banks.

As a result, in the last decade, Petrobras had been forced to compete with foreign oil companies. However, after Brazil made its deep-sea oil discoveries at Tupi in 2007, the government pushed Petrobras firmly in control of the new oil, signaling a return to an earlier philosophy of monopolistic energy policy.

An additional problem Petrobras faces is that the international energy industry is changing, especially in the United States, shifting towards extracting oil and natural gas from onshore shale formations rather than ocean drilling. Many oil companies now prefer ground extraction to ocean oil wells after the BP disaster.

Brazil is thought to have large shale reserves itself, but the government remains focused on its costly deep-sea mega-projects, and thus Petrobras is falling behind in this new onshore technology for oil exploration.

"The United States is redrawing the global petroleum map, while in Brazil euphoria [after the Tupi discovery] has given way to inertia," Folha de S. Paulo said in a recent editorial.

Describing the accumulation of problems at Petrobras, Exame, Brazil's top business magazine, bluntly accused the government of "destroying Brazil's largest company," accompanying the claim with an illustration of a fuel dispenser from a gas station in the shape of a noose.

Maria das Graças Foster, the chief executive of Petrobras, has been exceptionally frank about the company's problems. In recent conference calls with analysts, she said that oil production should remain steady this year or perhaps even decline slightly again. By 2020, the company expects to double overall production to 4.2 million barrels a day.

B. Michael Rubin is an American living in Curitiba, Brazil. He's the editor of the online magazine, Curitiba in English. (www.curitibainenglish.com.br)



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Comments (28)Add Comment
...
written by João da Silva, July 23, 2013

An interesting & thought provoking article. Rubin has researched the past on PETROBRAS well. He deserves my kudos.

But....but...but... I still maintain that Ms.Maria da Graça Foster got a bomb in her hands like Mdme.Rousseff starting from 2010!!

Maria das Graças Foster, the chief executive of Petrobras, has been exceptionally frank about the company's problems.


She is another frank Brasilian "technocrat" & I certainly wouldn't blame her for this noble quality.
Reply to Joao da Silva
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, July 24, 2013

Joao, the above article does not mentioned that companies such as Eike Batista's oil company has raided Petrobras and they took away a lot of the talented people that Petrobras had on its staff...

When a company such as Petrobras lose a number of its important human capital then resulting in an adverse effect in that company...

.

Ricardo Amaral
written by João da Silva, July 24, 2013

Hi Ricardo,

Joao, the above article does not mentioned that companies such as Eike Batista's oil company has raided Petrobras and they took away a lot of the talented people that Petrobras had on its staff...


I am not too sure if you are keeping track of the Brasilian news in recent times, Ricardo. In case you didn't know, Eike's empire is in trouble. Not a day passes without any news about his empire & BNDES.

Here is a link for you to read:

http://economia.estadao.com.br...9926,0.htm

I wonder what went wrong.smilies/shocked.gif
Reply to Joao da Silva
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, July 24, 2013

Joao, I know that Eike's fortune is down 90 percent from one years ago.

Eike Batista was in the right track and he was doing what it's necessary to be done in Brazil, and he had the right vision for the future of Brazil.

Eike Batista Palestra na USP - July 2, 2012
http://youtu.be/3Zi6QkHQ0_4

Time: 2 hrs


*****


Joao, the Ponzi scheme created by Wall Street and the US Federal Reserve is getting close to a total collapse....

Greg Hunter interviews Bix Weir – July 21, 2013

Gold-Silver Update and Complete Wipeout of all Debt in All Banks Coming in Next Few Months

http://youtu.be/QDwRJE-dXxs

Bix Weir of RoadtoRoota.com predicts, "We are the biggest debtor nation in the world. If we collapse the debt now and erase all debt, we win." When could it all start to fall apart? Weir predicts "the August-September time frame." Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com for this controversial interview with gold and silver advocate Bix Weir.


*****


Keiser Report: Destabilization, Algobots, Counterfeiting – July 23, 2013
http://youtu.be/EktF6r9gm70

In the second half, Max talks to Sandeep Jaitly of FeketeResearch.com, about gold backwardation, Flaming Jamie, a run on the gold markets and the fact that fiat can't fail in fiat terms but it can in gold. Max also says that if Snowden can press one button and take down the US, then people should ask for delivery of physical gold.


*****


Greg Hunter interviews Paul Craig Roberts – July 23, 2013

By Winter Unemployment Explodes, More Foreclosures-Worse than Great Depression

http://youtu.be/buqJP7y115s

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, "My prediction or expectation is by winter, the second downturn of the Great Recession will be in place. Unemployment will explode, more foreclosures are coming. It's going to be worse than the Great Depression." Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.


.
Reply to Joao da Silva
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, July 26, 2013

Joao, I am sorry for Eike Batista, because he was in the right track, and he was doing what is necessary to help develop the economy in Brazil.

Folha de Sao Paulo – 25 de Julho de 2013
Eike não é mais bilionário, diz ranking

http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/m...king.shtml

Eike Batista, que chegou a ser o oitavo homem mais rico do mundo, não é mais um bilionário. A fortuna do empresário foi estimada nesta quinta-feira em US$ 200 milhões.

É um tombo e tanto para quem tinha, em março de 2012, US$ 34,5 bilhões.

Os dados são do ranking de bilionários da agência de notícias Bloomberg.

.
Reply to Joao da Silva - Regarding: Goldman Sacks the Pillage People
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, July 26, 2013

Joao, the crooks from "Goldman Sacks the Pillage People" take all their customers for a ride.

Today you have to be a real idiot to still do business with the crooks from "Goldman Sacks the Pillage People".

"Goldman Sacks the Pillage People" doesn't have an idea on how to make an honest buck - everything they do is to make money by screwing somebody...a customer, a city, a state, a country, and so on....

Basically, if you still doing any business with these crooks then you deserve to lose your shirt - it will be just a matter of time for you also to be screwed by "Goldman Sacks the Pillage People" and their network of thieves...


*****


The Young Turks – July 25, 2013
How Goldman Sachs Robbed You Of Five Billion Dollars

http://youtu.be/1an7j6cmjUw

"The U.S. Department of Justice has started a preliminary probe into the metals warehousing industry following complaints that storage firms owned by Wall Street banks and major traders have inflated prices, sources familiar with the matter said."

Wall Street can rob you indirectly too-- how are Goldman Sachs and other big banks artificially manipulating the aluminum market and other commodities to make consumers needlessly pay more for everyday items, netting them billions of excess dollars? Cenk Uygur breaks down the disturbing findings.

.
Reply to Joao da Silva - Regarding: Goldman Sacks the Pillage People
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, July 26, 2013

Part 2

Keiser Report: Royal Goldman Household – July 25, 2013
http://youtu.be/oKIz71VhCu4

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss vertically integrated trusts in the commodity markets which need to be busted up ala Teddy Roosevelt. They also examine Goldman Sachs' low frequency trading in Detroit and the 'market making' excuse for the aluminum scandal.

In the second half, Max talks to Mitch Feierstein of PlanetPonzi.com about the debt fuelled faux recovery, discount rate desperation, Jon Corzine rolling off the page with $1.6 billion in customer funds and the Brezhnev of Wall Street.

.
Milhares
written by ..., July 26, 2013
Poor Ricardo, the fortunes that the philanthropic Andradas clan stole many many years ago has been taken away from him and while he was working at "Goldman Sacks and the Pillage People" to try to recover it, he got both fired and screwed. His ancestors were clearly cut from a different cloth.
Reply to ... (the poor bastard is embarrassed to post under his real name)
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, July 26, 2013

Why the poor bastard is embarrassed to post under his real name?

Because he is part of the PR machine who works for "Goldman Sacks and the Pillage People" and their network of thieves...

If you noticed on the last video of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser mentioned that the crooks from "Goldman Sacks and the Pillage People" and their network of thieves sold a lot toxic assets to the pension plan of the city of Detroit - and they are going to use the bankruptcy of the city of Detroit to write off the massive losses that the pension fund has related to the garbage that Goldman Sacks sold to them.

If "Goldman Sacks and the Pillage People" and their network of thieves pillaged the assets of the pension fund of the city of Detroit then you can be sure that these crooks also pillaged the assets of other pension funds of other cities around the United States.

The pillage of assets from the city of Detroit pension fund by the crooks of "Goldman Sacks and the Pillage People" it must be just the tip of the iceberg of what happened around the United States.

Keiser Report: Royal Goldman Household – July 25, 2013
http://youtu.be/oKIz71VhCu4


.
Alex Jones Show interviews Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – July 26, 2013
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, July 27, 2013

Watch on this video starting from 1 hr 12 min to 1 hr 44 min the interview with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Alex Jones Show interviews Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – July 26, 2013

http://youtu.be/j8h52Ldba0A

Time: 4 hrs

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan Administration and a prolific writer, joins the show to talk to Alex about how the ultra-elite has completely hi-jacked our republic and continue to cut free the rest of the constitutional restraints which hold back unlimited control. Alex will also take your calls and answer your questions throughout the broadcast.

.
Reply to Joao da Silva
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 01, 2013

Joao, I am very suspicious about what has happened to Eike Batista's fortune - in March of 2012 his fortune was estimated to be around US$ 35 billion dollars and Bloomberg News reported last week that as of end of July 2013 Eike Batista's fortune is estimated to be around US$ 200 million dollars.

I would not be surprised to find out that Eike Batista was set up for a fall by the Rothschild Zionists - watch these videos then you will understand what I am talking about:

Disappearance of the Rothschild Family – June 16, 2013
http://youtu.be/l6C0u0kC8u0



February 24, 2013

The Rothschild Family - Puppet Masters - World's Only Trillionaires - Full Documentary

http://youtu.be/-WfqdcnjvlA

Rothschild Family Conspiracy Documentary Puppet Masters, The Worlds only Trillionaires - "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws." "We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent." ~ Rothschild

.
“Goldman Sacks the Pillage People” and their network of thieves...
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 01, 2013

“Goldman Sacks the Pillage People” and Monopoly game....

John Oliver Trashes Goldman Sachs: 'Guaranteed That Nobody's Going To Jail!' - July 25, 2013

http://youtu.be/eoaGEx01_0E


.
About the run on the bullion banks happening right now...
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 01, 2013

Keiser Report: No jail for banksters in real world Monopoly – July 30, 2013
http://youtu.be/j615aokEA_Y

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the real world Monopoly board game without a jail and on which most players must pass 'go' and receive just $200 in foodstamps while a select few get to pass 'go' and collect $200 billion in bailouts, bail-ins and subsidies.

In the second half, Max talks to precious metals expert, Andrew Maguire, about the run on the bullion banks happening right now.

.
Reply to Joao da Silva
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 01, 2013

Joao, this is a very interesting lecture by Noam Chomsky about Brazil.

August 1, 2013

Noam Chomsky on the CIA in Brazil, U.S. Economy, Labor Wages, Fiscal Conservatism (1994)

http://youtu.be/qna-Tr7Viec


*****


Noam Chomsky on stupid people – July 31, 2013
http://youtu.be/Gm0YMZE_1QQ


.
Always blame the foreigners
written by obbarstad, August 01, 2013
It is very strange that whatever problems Brazil manages to create by their internal policies Brazilians manages to blame other contries for the result. I work for a company that is contracted by Petrobras and beleive me, it is not only the meddeling of the Brazilian government that is their problem. They have to start using more outside help/technology to get their production up - it is no secret that Brazil does not have either the companies or the necessary skilled manpower to get oil from the pre-salt fiels up in a cost efficient manner.
...
written by Triple-Dot, August 01, 2013

They have to start using more outside help/technology to get their production up - it is no secret that Brazil does not have either the companies or the necessary skilled manpower to get oil from the pre-salt fiels up in a cost efficient manner.


Has it ever occurred to you that the Brasilians don't have much faith in this Pre-salt,post-salt, etc; business. Propaganda has a limit and it cant fool the J & J.Doe forever.

The best suggestion I have for you, Obbarstad, is you make hay while the sun still shines and get back to your country ASAP.smilies/cool.gif
Reply to obbarstad
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 02, 2013

Which company are you suggesting that Petrobras should ask for help to get their great and state-of-the-art deepwater drilling technology: a company such as BP.

BP did a great job in the Gulf of Mexico, and they did show to the world in prime time how advanced was their deepwater drilling technology, and the BP's deepwater Horizon drilling rig could operate only in waters up to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) deep.

After the explosion on that drilling rig in April 2010 they had massive damage to the environment in the Gulf of Mexico – the damage is so great that to this day they don't allow anybody to come up to 50 miles of that location, and they don't allow people to fly over that area as well, since they don't want the public to see pictures or film of the damage that the BP drilling rig caused in that area of the world.

Yes, these international oil companies such as BP has a lot to teach to Petrobras....

Hah, hah, hah....


.
Reply to Obbarstad - We don't need this in the coast of Brazil...
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 02, 2013

We don't need a similar catastrophe in the coast of Brazil:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill

.
Haliburton pleads guilty to destroying Gulf spill evidence...
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 02, 2013

Gerald Celente - Trends In The News - "Disgusting News Day!" - August 1, 2013

http://youtu.be/-f0u2aCWL8c

"Criminal charges pressed against SEC, Haliburton pleads guilty to destroying Gulf spill evidence & even the Chinese don't want to buy their own crap!"

.

Ricardo Amaral
written by João da Silva, August 02, 2013

Both you and Triple-Dot have a point there, Ricardo. Why do we have to detonate our ocean bed , when we can easily ship the Venezuelan oil into Brasil?
Reply to Joao da Silva
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 03, 2013

Joao, you are right, it would be easier and cheaper to add Venezuela as a new state of Brazil than spend a ton of money in the very, very, very, very deepwater oil exploration gamble which can have catastrophic results for Brazil if something goes wrong...

If they add Venezuela to Brazil, then they also can add Bolivia as well...

.
"Goldman Sacks the Pillage People" and their network of thieves...they are going to destroy Brazil...
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 03, 2013

Joao, Brazilians are naive and they think that companies such as "Goldman Sacks the Pillage People" and their network of thieves are in Brazil with good intentions...

What Brazilians have not grasped as yet is that "Goldman Sacks the Pillage People" and their network of thieves are in Brazil to rape and pillage everything in sight.

"Goldman Sacks the Pillage People" and their network of thieves are only a predators looking for new victims to their latest scams...

You need to be a complete idiot to still doing business with these crooks and scam artists.


Keiser Report: Financial Tapeworms – August 3, 2013
http://youtu.be/XhaYwesQ4e8

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the good news from China where a worm has been successfully removed from a man's brain; thus giving us hope at removing the 6 foot long financial tapeworms which have sucked the nutrients out of the global financial system leaving behind a malnourished Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) world in which wages fail to keep up with inflation and new workers are put on 'zero hour' contracts.

In the second half, Max talks to journalist, author and filmmaker, Greg Palast of GregPalast.com, about Goldman Sachs and John Paulson and about Obama intervening in the case of vulture capitalist Paul Singer versus Argentina only in order to help out Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan.

.

who is to blame
written by Simpleton, August 06, 2013
"which can have catastrophic results for Brazil if something goes wrong..."

As far as I know the deep water fish production off Brazil's coast has been dead for a long long time. The tannery's and ocean product processing businesses in downtown Rio have been abandoned for the most part along with the textile industries. Nothing but an eyesore. What are you saying exactly there Ricky? That Petrobras (i.e. the corrupt officials in Brasil) are somehow at risk of paying for the consequences if there is a catastrophe other that further polluting the 4km of already polluted beaches if they continue to bring in foreign technology?
ko0ops
written by Simpleton, August 06, 2013
Forgive me for not having the ch.c. accuracy factor - with the brazeros that would be 4000km.
Reply to Simpleton
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 06, 2013

Simpleton, do you want to turn the coast of Brazil from this:

http://youtu.be/L8gPa8seDS0


To this:

http://youtu.be/BEWMqK5H4Z0


http://youtu.be/kKJ2TA2Ee3E


.
Gerald Celente - Trends In The News - "National Identity Crisis!" - August 5, 2013
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 09, 2013

Joao, it's funny to see Gerald Celente's reaction to the latest episode of "Operation Clueless" that the United States has been running in the Middle East and North Africa for many years.

Gerald Celente - Trends In The News - "National Identity Crisis!" - August 5, 2013
http://youtu.be/06QRnfvKGR8

"A festival of human spirit, USPS takes photos of all circulating mail & more Palestinian land to be stolen by the Israeli government. What about those "peace" talks? Guess that went out the window!"

.
Here is a sound way to reorganize the system of education and job creation in Brazil...
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 12, 2013

Joao, here is an interesting video with economist Richard Wolff giving sound ideas on how to improve the educational system, and create a new job creation system in Brazil to increase the quality of education and create a large middle class in Brazil.

We should change the system in Brazil, and we should adopt some the ideas that he explores on this video regarding Spain, Italy and Germany and adopt the system that has been very successful for these countries.



Richard Wolff: A Cure for Capitalism – March 14, 2013
http://youtu.be/guSdjsctrUQ

Time 2 hrs 7 min

After five years of deepening crisis, failed "solutions," and aborted "recoveries," millions see a capitalist system no longer serving most Americans. It's time to demand a cure big and bold enough to work. Richard Wolff spoke on to hear that cure presented, explained, and justified. Instead of resignation to economic decline, come and help build real and positive change.

This evening was the launch Wolff's latest book, Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism released September 1st, 2012 by Haymarket Publishers.

Filmed by LinkTV September 6, 2012

.
The Brazilian government should block this transaction and investigate the people who is behind this deal.
written by Ricardo C. Amaral, August 15, 2013

Joao, the vultures didn't lose any time to eat the remains of the carcass of Eike Batista...

Folha de Sao Paulo – Agosto 14, 2013
Com R$ 1,3 bi, grupo americano assume controle da LLX

http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/m...-eig.shtml

Early this evening I saw this article published by Folha de Sao Paulo about one of Eike's companies.

I did some checking and I found out that EIG Global Energy Partners is a private equity firm, and one of its owners Kurt Adolph Talbot, in 2003, Mr. Talbot left EIG and joined Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., where he founded and served as head of its E&P Capital Group. Then he returned to EIG Global Energy Partners.

The Brazilian government should block this transaction and investigate the people who are behind this deal.

I was already suspicious about what happened to Eike Batista and now that I saw the Goldman Sacks connection then if people can investigate this deal further, then we might find out that "Goldman Sacks the Pillage People" was involved in the destruction of Eike Batista.

I would not be a bit surprised, since that is the modus operandi of "Goldman Sacks the Pillage People", and that is the only way that Goldman Sacks knows how to make money: by screwing everybody that comes across their path.

.

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