GILLSBURG, Miss. — Oil companies plan a big increase in drilling activity in 2014 in a shale formation in southwest Mississippi and Louisiana.They're trying to extract oil from the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, which one study says could hold 7 billion barrels.Some wells have been disappointing. But Goodrich Petroleum and Encana Corp. say they expect to produce oil more consistently as they learn effective drilling techniques.Goodrich Chief Operating Officer Robert Turnham says companies still must cut costs to be successful.Louisiana and Mississippi are trying to spur activity through tax breaks. Leaders hope drilling will boost the rural region's economy.By one estimate, companies have spent $300 million to lease land in the region. Many local residents are benefiting from that money, although businesses say they're not seeing an all-out boom yet.
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