Oil report

Oil guru Matthew Simmons dies in Maine

BOSTON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Matthew Simmons, who argued the world was rapidly approaching peak oil production capacity and predicted that BP Plc BP.L's would be driven bankrupt, died at his home in North Haven, Maine, the energy research group he founded said on Monday.

He died suddenly on Sunday, his Ocean Energy Institute said in a statement.

Simmons, 67, a former adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush, had a heart attack while in a hot tub, local media reported, citing the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

In his 2005 book “Twilight in the Desert,” Simmons argued that Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves were nearing the highest levels of production they were capable of achieving, after which point the world’s yearly oil supply would begin to decline.

While Simmons’s views on peak oil were regarded as somewhat controversial, he drew even more attention for a June 9 interview with Fortune magazine, in which he predicted BP had “about a month before they declare Chapter 11” as the cleanup costs for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill mounted.

A week later, Simmons & Co International, the investment bank that Simmons founded in 1974, said it was cutting ties with its founder who until that point had served as chairman emeritus.

Simmons in 2007 founded the Ocean Energy Institute, a self-described think tank and venture capital fund focused on offshore renewable energy technology.

Reporting by Scott Malone and Edward McAllister; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Sandra Maler