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Hayward Expected to Step Down as BP CEO


BP chief executive Tony Hayward is set to step down as head of the British-based oil giant, following criticism of his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

His departure from the job is expected to be announced Tuesday. The company's board was meeting late Monday in London.

Hayward is expected to be replaced by Bob Dudley, an American currently in charge of the clean-up operation in the Gulf. Media reports say Hayward will move to BP's joint venture in Russia, TNK-BP.

Hayward has been under pressure to step down over what is seen as his lack of compassion for the oil workers who lost their lives and the residents of the U.S. Gulf states who have been harmed by the spill.

The oil spill followed an explosion at the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil platform on April 20 that killed 11 workers.

Efforts to permanently plug the ruptured well were under way Monday, after a tropical storm in the Gulf last week forced BP officials to temporarily suspend operations.

The rig that has been drilling a relief well to plug the leak was back on site reconnecting the equipment that will soon resume work.

The head of the U.S. government's response team, retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, says efforts to seal the well are focused on what is called "static kill," which involves pumping heavy mud and then cement into the top of the well cap.

Allen says that operation should begin August 2, and the final stage - blasting a mud and cement mix into the bottom of the well - some five days later.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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