BP’s chief executives past and present were in attendance at the oil group’s annual reception at the British Museum on Tuesday evening.

Bob Dudley, the present incumbent, mingled with his predecessor Tony Hayward, who left in July in the wake of the company’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as Lord Browne.

As in recent BP shindigs held to bid Mr Hayward farewell, the mood was one of resilience in the face of adversity. It fell to Mr Dudley and his chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, to thank everyone for their “support” during the crisis.

Slated to finish at 9pm, the event appeared perfectly timed to allow the guests to turn on their television screens to watch Mr Hayward’s first interview – on the BBC – since leaving the company.


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