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Charco Azul is an area just outside Puerto Armuelles Panama. Charco Azul translates to blue ditch or puddle because it is very deep. Take a few steps into the ocean and where on a normal beach you might be up to your knees the water is above your head. The ocean floor drops off dramatically in a very steep slope which creates an ideal spot for a port. This is what the engineers decided who chose Charco Azul for the site of a dock to bring in supertankers.
At only 300 feet long, many ship captains of these giant supertankers worried that they would run aground, but one did come in and found the water is deep. In fact one can see deep-water fish swimming just underneath the dock. Since the late 1970s, Charco Azul has been helping get the oil from Alaska down to the refineries of Houston and the Gulf coast. Once just a stopping spot for supertankers to unload and Panamax tankers to load, today only the supertankers visit. In 1982, the pipeline to transport the oil across to the Atlantic was completed despite strict rules of how it was to be built to discourage its building. Now run by Petroterminales of Panama (PTP), this oil terminal and the end of the oil pipeline has been coveted by Hugo Chavez for shipping his Venezuelan Crude to China, but now seems destined to be part of a new refinery to be built nearby. Occidental (OXY) said by the end of 2007 or the beginning of 2008 they will finish their feasibility study regarding the possibility of building a petroleum refinery in Puerto Armuelles.