(BP poll updated for BP asset sales)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Optimism about the latest effort from BP ( BP) to stanch the flow of oil from the Macondo well has presented M&A-focused investors with a question: If BP remains successful in capping the runaway well, will the embattled British oil giant be in a better position to remain independent, or will the end to the oil leak increase the appetite of M&A vultures in the oil and gas space? BP finally said the words last Thursday afternoon that the world -- and the markets -- had been waiting for: the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico has stopped. BP began its delayed well integrity test on Thursday afternoon. BP finally made the first in asset sales that the market is expecting, announcing on Tuesday that it had sold $7 billion worth of assets to Apache ( APC). BP also said on Tuesday that it was planning to sell as much as $1.7 billion in Vietnam and Pakistan assets also, nearing the $10 billion total in asset sales that BP previously said it would pursue. Raising cash from asset sales is seen as an important means for BP of assuring the markets that it can handle the liabilities resulting from the oil spill without running into bankruptcy or being taken over by a competitor.