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Matthew Simmons, prominent 'peak oil' backer, dies

Emma Brown

Matthew Simmons, 67, one of the most prominent and outspoken believers in 'peak oil,' the theory that the world's crude-oil production is cresting (or has already crested), died yesterday at his home in North Haven, Maine.

His body was found in his hot tub. The Associated Press reports that an autopsy "concluded Monday that he died from accidental drowning with heart disease as a contributing factor."

Mr. Simmons was a successful energy investment banker who founded the Houston-based Simmons & Co. and served as an advisor to President George W. Bush.simmons.jpg

Increasingly concerned about what he said were clear signs that the world was not prepared to deal with an inevitable dropoff in crude oil production, he laid out his arguments in the 2005 book "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Oil Shock and the World Economy."

"What the people that get into the peak oil debate often don't think about is that peak oil is not the maximum amount of oil you could produce in a single day, it's realistically the amount you could produce per day for at least a half decade," Mr. Simmons wrote in a 2005 chat session on washingtonpost.com. "Therefore it could already be happening. And we'll never know that until we get better data."

Since then, he has been an advocate for sustainable and alternative energy. In 2007, he founded The Ocean Energy Institute to promote wind-energy development.

In recent months, he had been critical of BP's efforts to deal with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

By Emma Brown  |  August 9, 2010; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  Emma Brown  | Tags: gulf oil spill, matt simmons died, matthew simmons bp, matthew simmons died, matthew simmons dies, matthew simmons obituary, matthew simmons peak oil, ocean energy institute, simmons and co, simmons george bush  
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Comments

The front page link to this post reads: "Prominent 'peak oil' backer, dies".

Why the comma? Did all the copyeditors get laid off yesterday? Or is this a new rule of punctuation?

Posted by: habari2 | August 9, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I see two proper commas. Commas are not used enough in printed or written English.


Posted by: mortified469 | August 9, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The guys death brings out the pedants? Bah, I'd rather point out that he at least contributed to the conversation about oil being a finite resource. He may not have been perfectly correct about when the `peak oil' point is, but he was right to point out it is a finite resource that will need replacement. He also worked to make the world a better place, which is something most people don't do.

Flaming the Post over the placement of commas doesn't help make the world any better FYI. It's just anal, and very annoying.

Posted by: Nymous | August 9, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

You say he was a 'believer' in peak oil, as if it is a controversial or disputed position.

Are there people who believe that oil production will continue to increase forever and ever?

Posted by: kcx7 | August 9, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

The commas are used correctly in the headline.

Posted by: brewstercounty | August 9, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Everyone read my post incorrectly. I referred to "the front page link," not the headline at the top of this page. The front page link is still incorrect. The headline at the top of this page, with its two commas, was never wrong.

I'm not "flaming." I'm trying to get the Post to do some occasional copyediting.

Posted by: habari2 | August 10, 2010 3:28 AM | Report abuse

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