By Tom Bergin

HOUSTON, June 3 (Reuters) – BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has become the worst in U.S. history, prompting speculation about the future of the company and its chief executive, Tony Hayward.

Here are some potential scenarios facing BP:


BP and the White House have said the oil giant has the financial muscle to cover the cost of cleaning up the oil spill and compensating those affected.

All analysts consulted by Reuters agree on this, and that the key determinant of how much it does finally cost depends on how long the oil continues to flow.

Analysts and investors have started to factor in that the spill lasts until August, when a relief well is expected to be completed. The relief well would end the spill even if earlier efforts to cap the ruptured well have failed.

BP’s market capitalization has fallen by around $65 billion since the Deepwater Horizon rig sank on April 22 after exploding two days earlier, unleashing a torrent of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.