Gas Begins To Flow -- Slowly -- Again In Victoria

Esso Australia Ltd., a unit of Exxon Corp., has resumed supplies of natural gas to a few businesses in Australia's Victoria, nine days after an explosion at a processing facility brought many factories to a standstill. Only one of three processing plants was damaged in the explosion, but gas could not be pumped out of the other two until new pipes and electricity cables had been installed. First to benefit are a few large businesses that can cope with possible disruption to trial gas supplies, but smaller businesses and domestic consumers will have to wait until Oct. 8. Esso still faces the possibility of a huge class-action lawsuit by customers seeking compensation for damages to their businesses.

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