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GNS Posts Half-Year Profit Of $792,000

The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS) has posted a profit of $792,000 for the six months to 30 December 2001. This is an increase of 33 percent on the profit of $594,000 for the corresponding period in 2000.

Total revenue for the six months was $17.12 million against $13.73 million for the corresponding period in 2000. Revenue from commercial services was $7.45 million, $460,000 ahead of the forecast figure and $4.2 million greater than for the half-year in 2000.

The GNS half-year report, tabled in Parliament this week, showed a return on equity of 5.9 percent against a target of 5.3 percent.

Chairman Derek Milne said it was pleasing that revenue per full-time employee for the period was $69,400 - 2.9 percent ahead of target and $11,600 greater than in 2000.

As costs continued to be tightly controlled, GNS was in a strong financial position, Dr Milne said.

Highlights during the six months included progress made with the Company's GeoNet project, a 10-year non-profit public-good programme to upgrade the instrument networks that monitor earthquakes and volcanic activity in New Zealand.

Describing GeoNet as world-class in its design and operation, Dr Milne said it had met its first-year progress targets as agreed with the Earthquake Commission which is providing funding of $5 million a year for the project.

" Emphasis for the first year has been to make existing seismic and volcano networks more robust," Dr Milne said.

" As the rollout of new equipment progresses throughout New Zealand, data on earthquakes and volcanic unrest will become more comprehensive and more rapid, with much of it in real-time.

" Better intelligence on geological hazards will benefit a number of sectors including emergency management, utility companies, territorial authorities, and the tourism, transport, insurance and construction industries."

Higher quality information would also benefit research, as it would enable scientists to pursue new avenues of research that, internationally, were leading to a better understanding of geological hazards.

A seismic survey of the Tasman Sea undertaken by GNS and Norwegian company TGS-Nopec late last year had confirmed the presence of a large sedimentary basin of up to 30,000sqkm, west of Taranaki, that appeared to have large volumes of trapped oil.

When the area is licenced for exploration later this year, exploration companies will buy the data and GNS's analysis report to help them decide which areas to bid for. Initial indications are that there is strong international interest in this frontier area.

GNS is also playing a major role in a $44 million project that will define the outer limits of New Zealand's continental shelf. New Zealand has until 2009 to lodge its submission to the United Nations to extend its sovereign rights over the seabed resources within its continental shelf area.

GNS's expertise in marine geology, geophysics and in managing large databases are key ingredients in defining the edges of New Zealand's continental shelf. Scientists estimate that New Zealand's legal continental boundary could encompass an area beyond the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone of up to nine times the area of the New Zealand land mass.

GNS's new Chief Executive, Professor Alex Malahoff, is scheduled to start on 1 July. He will replace acting chief executive Graham Clarke.

END

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