'Peak Oil' Theory Advocate Matt Simmons Dies

Matt Simmons, a prominent oil investor who argued the world was rapidly approaching peak oil production capacity, died suddenly on Sunday of an apparent heart attack at his home in North Haven, Maine.

Matt Simmons
Matt Simmons

Simmons, 67 years old, founded Simmons & Co. International, an investment bank that caters to energy companies, in 1974.

More recently, Simmons had retired to devote his time to the Ocean Energy Institute, a group he founded to research and develop energy from wind and tidal sources.

In his 2005 book "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy," Simmons drew attention to the unreliability of Middle East oil reserves, arguing that the nation's oil reserves were nearing their highest levels of production.

Simmons' views on "peak oil" have long be considered controversial as have his recent statements regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Simmons, who served as an energy advisor to President George W. Bush, asserted earlier this summer, that he expected BP would need to file for bankruptcy protection in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon accident. He also claimed there were two leaks in the Gulf of Mexico, not just the one on which BP had fixed its underwater cameras.

In the wake of Simmons' comments, the investment bank Simmons & Co. severed its ties with its founder, who until that point had served as its chairman emeritus.

BP's recent efforts to cap the Macondo well and establish a $20 billion claim fundhave made these highly controversial comments unlikely.

Simmons is survived by his wife, Ellen, and their five daughters.