Matthew Simmons, perhaps peak oil’s most unlikely advocate, passed away today from a heart attack at age 67.
It’s hard not to mention Simmons in a conversation about peak oil, or the point at which the maximum rate of petroleum extraction has been reached and energy production goes into a permanent decline. Simmons had a number of impressive-sounding credentials to his name–founder of Simmons & Company, a Texas-based private investment bank specializing in the energy sector; former energy adviser to President George W. Bush; member of the Council on Foreign Relations–all of which made him a fascinating counterpoint to the far-left pundits that usually dominate the peak oil debate.
Simmons’ contribution to the peak oil debate went beyond sound bites, he also wrote a book, Twilight in the Desert, detailing the controversy surrounding the world’s oil reserves. In 2007, Simmons founded the Ocean Energy Institute, a combination venture capital fund and think-tank that develops ocean-based energy sources.
Regardless of whether you agree with him, it’s hard to deny that Simmons played an important part in shaping the energy debate over the past few years. Check out this 2007 clip of Simmons to see just how persuasive he can be.