martedì, agosto 10, 2010

La morte di Matthew Simmons

Matthew Simmons, uno dei fondatori del movimento del "peak Oil" è morto ieri a 67 anni a casa sua, nella cittadina di North Haven, in Maine. E' stato colpito da un attacco cardiaco mentre faceva il bagno.

L'avevo conosciuto personalmente a Parigi, a una delle conferenze internazionali di ASPO. Di lui mi ricordo l'energia e la chiarezza del pensiero. Recentemente, si era dimesso dalla sua posizione di membro del comitato scientifico di ASPO-USA, forse già non si sentiva bene. Ultimamente, aveva commentato in modo forse un po' troppo catastrofista la questione della perdita di petrolio dal pozzo BP nel golfo del Messico. Può darsi che anche queste sue posizioni un po' eccessive siano state dovute a problemi di salute, come alcuni avevano già ipotizzato.

Di Matt Simmons ci ricordiamo parecchi contributi importantissimi come i molti interventi alle varie conferenze ASPO. E' stato anche uno dei primi a rivalutare il lavoro dei "Limiti dello Sviluppo" dopo la campagna di disinformazione che lo aveva demolito. Il suo libro "Twlight in the desert" rimane un'eccellente descrizione del sistema petrolifero dell'Arabia saudita.

Ecco la notizia, da Bloomberg


Matthew Simmons, Peak-Oil Advocate and Simmons & Co. Founder, Dies at 67

Matthew R. Simmons, an energy investment banker who was a leading proponent of the “peak oil” theory that claims the Earth is running out of crude, died yesterday. He was 67.
The former chairman of Simmons & Co. International “passed away suddenly,” according to an e-mailed statement today from the Ocean Energy Institute, which Simmons started in 2007 to explore opportunities for harvesting energy from the seas. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, and their five daughters.
Simmons started Houston-based Simmons & Co. in May 1974 with a focus on the oil-services industry, according to the company’s website. The firm expanded to offer research, institutional sales and investment banking in the energy industry. Simmons promoted the idea that world oil reserves are peaking, and he explored the implications in a 2005 book called “Twilight in the Desert.”
“He was somebody that was very comfortable challenging conventional wisdom, someone that thought beyond the near term and was a very good analyst in terms of identifying big trends,” said Dan Pickering, who worked at Simmons & Co. from 1996 to 2004 and is now co-president of the Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. investment bank in Houston.
Emergency medical workers responded to a possible drowning a little before 10 p.m. local time yesterday, said John Dietter, a crew chief for North Haven, Maine. He declined to comment on the cause of Simmons’s death. The Knox County sheriff’s office in Maine didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Engineering Reports Used
On a tour of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry in 2003, Simmons was inspired to estimate the world’s largest oil reserves, and from research that included poring through neglected engineering data, determined that the country was close to or nearing peak output, Peter Maass wrote in his book, “Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.”
“He built his own energy firm and, having done that successfully, used his knowledge of the industry to challenge one of its biggest accepted truths -- that there are nearly unlimited quantities of oil in the world,” Maass said today in an e-mail.
Demand for energy has become a “runwaway train that cannot be easily slowed or reversed,” Simmons said in a slide presentation in May at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. “We are in early stages of a global train wreck when demand outstrips supply and shortages begin,” according to the slides on the website for the Ocean Energy Institute.
‘Tight Supply’ Warning
Simmons said in 2008 that oil was more likely to hit $200 per barrel than drop to $50 over the next six months because supply wasn’t meeting demand.
Oil touched a record $147.27 a barrel in July 2008 and closed that year at $44.60 in New York futures trading.
“We have unbelievably tight supply,” Simmons said July 16, 2008, in a Bloomberg Television interview. “We have a lot of gasoline stations closing because they cannot afford to be in business.”
Pickering said Simmons was sometimes intentionally provocative because he wanted people to think beyond what is happening today or this year. He said the industry will miss Simmons pushing, even if his thoughts weren’t accepted by all.
“As much as anyone he brought the whole idea of peak oil into the public consciousness,” said Arthur Berman, a geologist who lives near Houston and writes for the Oil Drum energy website.
Retired in June
Berman said he shared Simmons’s views on peak oil. Simmons did have “some peculiar ideas” on the BP Plc spill such as the size of the disaster, Berman said, and he’d hoped to talk with Simmons about the reasons for some of his thoughts on the disaster.
Simmons was a frequent critic of BP’s efforts to stanch its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, suggesting at one point that the best option would be to detonate a small nuclear bomb undersea to kill the well.
On June 16, Simmons announced his retirement as chairman emeritus from Simmons & Co. so he could focus on the Ocean Energy Institute. His departure came after years of growth. By the end of 1981, Simmons & Co. had a staff of 13. About 17 years later, the company opened its first office outside Houston, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
“We are deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of a true visionary and friend,” Michael E. Frazier, chief executive officer of Simmons & Co., said today in a statement. “As a pivotal figure in the lives of many of our employees, and countless others across the energy industry, Matt will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Wind Power
Simmons founded the Ocean Energy Institute as a think tank and venture-capital fund for U.S. offshore renewable energy, including wind-powered energy, according to that group’s website.
“His group really had some excellent and substantial ambitions,” Ethan Zindler, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Washington D.C., said today in a telephone interview. “This group was poised to make an impact, but was essentially still just starting to get off the ground.”

1 commento: ha detto...

Lasciamo i nostri più cari saluti a Mattew Simmons che sicuramente aveva tanto da insegnare a tutti noi. Ci auguriamo, Che tutto quello che ha fatto in vita non vada perduto.