James W. Buckee was born in Winchester, England in 1946. He is married and has four daughters. In 1967 he received his BSc Honours in Physics from the University of Western Australia. In 1970 he received his PhD in Astrophysics at Oxford University.
From 1971 to 1977 he held various petroleum engineering positions with Shell International and Burma Oil. In 1987, Dr. Buckee became Operations Manager for BP in Norway. Following this he became Vice President, Development Programmes for BP Alaska. In May 1989 he returned to England as Manager, Planning for BP Exploration. In September 1991 he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer for BP Canada Inc. and in May 1993 was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Talisman Energy Inc. (formerly BP Canada). In October 2007 Dr. Buckee retired and is currently sits on the boards of Black Swan, Magma and M-Flow Technologies Ltd.