REFINERY bosses are celebrating the 50th birthday of their facility in Parkeston.

Then member of Parliament for Harwich Sir Julian Risdale cut the ribbon on the refinery originally known as Carless, Carpel and Leonard on June 23 1964.

Since then the HCS Group plant has become known as Petrochem Carless and is a leading manufacturer of chemical and hydrocarbon specialities with sister offices all over the UK, and in Belgium, Germany and the USA.

“We have become firmly rooted in Harwich and the surrounding region over the past 50 years,” said HCS Group executive vice president for global operations Duncan Stonehouse.

“With its proximity to the sea, the location provides a major advantage for us because we can be easily reached and can deliver our products by ship to customers all over the world, as well as being ideally located to the major hydrocarbon ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam.”

HCS started with approximately 20 employees in 1964 and processed 14,000 tonnes of raw materials, compared to today where they have 100 workers and regularly process half a million tonnes of material in a year including gas condensate and light crude oil from the North Sea.