Esso wins Longford court battle

Esso has emerged victorious in its legal battle against gas users who launched a multi-million dollar class action suit against the company over losses caused by the Longford gas explosion in 1998.

Justice Bill Gillard found that energy giant Esso was not negligent for the economic losses suffered by tens of thousands of gas consumers after the Longford gas explosion in 1998.

Esso's Australian chairman Robert Olsen says he is pleased with the court's ruling on economic losses, describing the decision as one of common sense.

"At the time of the gas interruptions, our contracts to supply gas was with the State of Victoria, not with the end users that were filing the claims in this particular case," Mr Olsen said.

"The long-term supply contract with the State Government recognised, although undesirable, the potential for interruption to supply."

Lawyer for the plaintiffs Bernard Murphy said they are disappointed with the verdict. "We are disappointed that they found against them for the bulk of their losses and disappointed for the consumers and the stood down workers who've lost today," Mr Murphy said.

However, the judge did rule in the claimants' favour in relation to property damage.