Geological surveys and prospecting for natural resources in Russia are declining. This is according to what Alexei Khitrov, the head of the agency for hydrocarbons, uranium, and solid fossil fuels, said yesterday while speaking at a staff meeting of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Mr. Khitrov explained that the discovered resources of hydrocarbons were increasing, which was no reason for complacency. His agency has come up with figures showing that at least 2 million metres of probe holes must be drilled each year. In the meantime, the actual figure is just half that. According to licensing conditions, surveys and prospecting must be done by users, yet the YUKOS oil company was the only one whose prospecting for new resources increased.