In 2008, a total of eight wells were drilled in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea. Hydrocarbons were found in four of them, newspaper Nordlys reports. This year, however, will see a sharp decline in activities. Only two wells are to be explored, and that is likely to take place only in fall, the newspaper writes. One of the explainations for the lower exploration level is that the Polar Pioneer rig — one of the best suited rigs for Arctic operations – is undergoing service and thus will be unavailable for the industry. -The year of 2009 might be a very difficult year, board leader of the Petro Arctic association Arvid Jensen says to the daily. Especially the oil and gas service industry might suffer from the lower activity level. -Now it will take longer time to locate the new oil reserves and to find the additional resources for the Snøhvit train two, Mr. Jensen says, adding that such a development hampers continuity in the regional industry. Other oil industry representatives are less pessimistic. Herold Paulsen from the Polarbase company believes ups and downs in the industry is perfectly natural and that the activity level again will pick pace in 2010. The ENI company is expected to drill up to 20 wells in the Goliat field and StatoilHydro has another 12 planned wells for the region.