PNG, Sandline International and the Billionaire

Heritage Oil

If you’ve been following the British press recently, the name Tony Buckingham would be one you should be quite familiar with. Last week Buckingham confirmed a merger that currently values his Heritage Oil Company at around GBP 3.5 Billion. Now to put that into perspective, that’s more than double the worth of British Airways. What the British press have very much focused on, particularly the gossip-thriving The Sun, is Buckingham’s colourful unorthodox background and his meteoric rise to fortune.

If you have a significant association with PNG, I only have to mention Sandline International and you will know what I’m talking about. The Sandline Affair is still an issue that pricks the feelings of many Papua New Guineans today. The name Lt. Col Tim Spicer is synonymous with the Sandline Affair in PNG but not so much that of Tony Buckingham, maybe because the paper-trail leading to him was doused with myriads of corporate subsidiaries, relationships and interests. However, since the Affair, Sandline has confirmed that “Tony Buckingham was the inspiration behind Sandline“.

So it was with interest that I read of Buckingham’s latest oil venture and how his meteoric rise to fortune has its foundation deeply rooted in mercenary work throughout several coup-marred African countries including Sierra Leone, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe and of course, PNG too.Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry


A good book about the privitisation of warfare which also includes  a copy of the official agreement between Sandline International and the PNG Government, and a list of the huge array of military equipment involved in the company’s abortive plan to suppress the rebellion in Bougainville, is Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Priviatized Military Industry.

I Also would recommend Tim Spicer’s Autobiography, An Unorthodox Soldier.

~ by Tavurvur on June 16, 2009.

4 Responses to “PNG, Sandline International and the Billionaire”

  1. Thank you for calling attention to this extremely important piece of information. As evidenced in many of the current mining operations in PNG, the hidden identities of many actors on the global scale who benefit from illicit activity in PNG require disclosures like this. The government at the Provincial and National level needs to enact greater transparency standards for the public to know who is really behind operations in the country. The use of shell corporations and subsidiaries has masked the identities of many players who would not be otherwise welcome by civil society. This posting, and many others, are vital to expand awareness and with your permission, I’ll link it from the “Voice of the Pacific” section of the inverted alchemy blog. Thank you.

  2. David,

    Yes, you have my permission to do so.

    If you’ve been keeping tabs on the mining industry in PNG, a rather interesting case is that of Barrick Gold and it’s operation in PJV (Porgera).

    Barrick PNG has started up a racket defending itself in the PNG Media from allegations of using police violence to terrorise the surrounding Ipili people.

    Multi-nationals are the greatest paradox of our time.


  3. Thanks T for this piece. Good to see some follow up on this event. Unfortunately fortune favours the brave no matter what colour their ethics.

  4. Oh and a good run down on his activities in the Times here:

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