File photo of BP CEO Hayward taking a first hand look at the recovery operations aboard the Discover Enterprise drill ship in the Gulf of Mexico
BP CEO Tony Hayward takes a first hand look at the recovery operations aboard the Discover Enterprise drill ship in the Gulf of Mexico 55 miles (89 km) south of Venice, Louisiana in this May 28, 2010 file photo. REUTERS

Tony Hayward, CEO of troubled oil giant BP is likely announce his resignation within the next 24 hours, it is being reported.

Mr Hayward has presided over the company during a calamitous four months in which the company share price has dropped by 50 per cent after an explosion at its Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 people and caused an oil leak which turned into the worst ecological disaster in U.S. history.

He, and the company, has faced intense criticism especially in the U.S. where he had to give a testimony before Congress. During the testimony he was accused of "stonewalling" for often saying he did not know the answer to the questions he was asked, insisting instead that his questioners wait until a full investigation is carried out.

Even President Barack Obama has also expressed his displeasure at the way Mr Hayward has handled the disaster and has indicated that if it were up to him Mr Hayward would be out of a job.

The BBC is reporting that Mr Hayward has been negotiating the terms of his exit and that a formal announcement will be made in the next 24 hours.

Overall the total bill for the disaster is expected to be put at around $30 billion for the cost of capping the well, the clean-up costs and compensation to thousands of people whose livelihoods have been lost.

Should Mr Hayward leave his post his farewell package could well be an issue of contention. A large payout despite presiding over an ecological and financial disaster is not likely to go down well, especially with shareholders and those who rely on BP for their pensions, as they are likely to lose out significantly as a result of the disaster.

If he resigns Mr Hayward would lose his 546,000 share options, although given the fall in BP's share price this will not be such a great loss to him as it might have been. He will be entitled to a pension worth £584,000 per year, but only from when he turns 60 in eight years time.

The most likely successor to Mr Hayward is Bob Dudley, who is currently overseeing operations in the Gulf. Mr Dudley might have a greater chance of undoing some of the PR damage down to BP in the last few months.

Mr Hayward has angered some in the U.S. with understated comments like "the Gulf is a big ocean" and an apparent lack of interest in the disaster, which some have attributed to the cultural difference between the understated British and the more expressive Americans.

Mr Dudley is from Mississippi and so may be able to undo some of the damage and "relate" to those whose lives have been affected by the disaster.

BP is also to release its half year results on Tuesday and is expected to post profits of around $10 billion, despite the cost of the disaster.