In his first appearance as BP’s new chief executive, Tony Hayward, has pledged to oversee a turnaround at the oil giant as the company posted a drop in second-quarter profits.

Hayward told reporters that rather than make optimistic predictions he would “prefer to concentrate on real delivery”. He added that “My message today is simple: BP’s current operational performance is not good enough.”

He said that BP expected its Thunder Horse oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico to start production at the end of 2008. It was due to start production in 2005, but has suffered repeated delays. Mr Hayward has ordered a shake-up in the transparency of the organisation and a standardisation of operations.

He added that “BP is like a boat which is well-built but requires some essential maintenance, having been through some stormy waters in the last few years.”Well if you want the stormy waters to pass, you had better get checking those corroding pipes then….