Michael J. Economides, noted Houston energy economist, professor and petroleum engineer, passed away suddenly Nov. 30 while on a flight from Madrid to Chile during a month-long trip to meet with his consulting clients. He was 64.

A prolific author, Economides wrote several text books about horizontal well completions and reservoir stimulation. He and co-author Ron Oligney in 2000 published The Color of Oil: The history, the money and the politics of the world’s biggest business. In 2009, he published Energy: China’s Choke Point. The latter publication is available from Hart Energy.

During his career, Economides held chaired professorships at several universities, wrote more than a dozen books and more than 150 journal papers and articles. He was frequently quoted on CNBC and CNN, and in academic journals. Economides was known for his wit and plain — sometimes blunt — speaking on geopolitical issues, as well as his expertise in engineering and hydraulic fracturing. He was a featured speaker at several Hart Energy events, most recently in February 2013.

A native of Cyprus, he came to the U.S. in 1969 as a Fulbright scholar and received his doctorate in petroleum engineering at Stanford. At the time of his death, he was a professor of chemical engineering and biomolecular engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston. He was also a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC), ENI and other global oil companies. He was editor-in-chief of Energy Tribune and the peer-reviewed Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering.  

He is survived by his wife Christine, a well-known petroleum engineering expert at Texas A&M University, and two children.