Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, who will leave the company in October, will still be expected to testify at a congressional hearing on Thursday into whether BP lobbied for the release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber to secure an oil deal in Libya.
Robert Menendez, the Democratic senator from New Jersey who will chair the hearing, told reporters on Monday that “a new CEO won’t be useful to me because Tony Hayward is the person”.
Mr Menendez, along with the other senator from New Jersey and the two from New York, have called for BP to reveal the full extent of its involvement in the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi from a Scottish jail last year.
BP, which was involved in negotiations over a drilling contract in Libya at the time, has said it expressed concern over the slow pace of finalising a “prisoner transfer agreement” but said it did not name Mr Megrahi.
The Libyan was the only prisoner held in Scotland over the 1988 bombing, which killed 270 people, a large proportion of them from New York and New Jersey.
But Mr Menendez does not have the power to summon any BP executive and the company has indicated Mr Hayward will not attend.
“We have asked voluntarily for them to appear. We don’t have the ability to compel them. It is in their interests to come forth at a hearing,” Mr Menendez told CNN on Monday morning.
Jack Straw, the UK’s justice secretary at the time of the transfer, and Alex Salmond, the first minister of Scotland, have already declined to attend.