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TheStreet Open House

Analyst Sees Smaller BP Under Dudley

New York ( TheStreet) -- With embattled BP (BP) CEO Tony Hayward seemingly on his way out, investors voted their preference by sending the stock nearly 5% higher in Monday's session.

The latest reports are that an announcement that Hayward - the man at the top when the catastrophic oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 -- could come as soon as tomorrow. Hayward might end up staying in the post until October, the reports say, and he could then remain on the company's board until the end of the year.

Bob Dudley, a managing director with responsibility for oversight of the Americas and Asia, is expected to be the company's next CEO. BP is slated to report its financial results on Tuesday, adding to the likelihood of a major announcement.

Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. analyst Fadel Gheit expects that in the future BP will be a much smaller company, spending much more cash on operations and precautions. He believes that the board should wait for the results of the government's investigation before making any executive moves, but between political and shareholder pressure Hayward's fate as CEO could be sealed.

"If BP comes out of the investigations as not guilty it will be for nothing. It is what it is though, and a change will be positive," said Gheit.

Gheit said BP could wind up paying between $30 billion and $60 billion to clean up the oil spill. The high figure represents a scenario where BP is found guilty in the federal probe, but its partner Transocean Ltd. (RIG) ends up absolved. The clean-up cost is likely to be spread out over 5 years, Gheit explained.

"It will hurt BP financially, but not destroy it," he said. "So far they have sold 2% of their assets for $7 billion. They could sell $10-12 billion of assets if they need to."

Assets in Argentina, North Sea and Vietnam would likely go on the block, according to Gheit. Each asset could bring in $2-3 billion.

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is believed to be interested in the Argentina assets. There is also speculation that CNOOC, PetroVietnam and Sinopec (SHI) all have an eye on BP's $1.3 billion Nam Con Son pipeline assets in Vietnam.

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