Boris Johnson Open to Fracking Beneath London to Keep Lights On

London Mayor Boris Johnson said he’s open to fracking for gas under the U.K. capital to meet the city’s demand for energy.

The headroom between energy supply and demand will drop to just 2 percent in two years, which will force some industries not to operate at peak times, Johnson said in a letter published in the Times newspaper today.

“If reserves of shale can be exploited in London we should leave no stone unturned, or unfracked, in the cause of keeping the lights on,” Johnson wrote. “It’s time for maximum boldness in energy supply.”

The U.K. government said June 27 that shale-gas fields in northern England are potentially big enough to meet demand for 47 years. The countryside south of Britain’s biggest city may hold 700 million barrels of recoverable shale oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which involves blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground, is nonetheless a controversial drilling technique because of concerns that it will damage the landscape and contaminate groundwater.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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