Some oil experts say they are also surprised at reports that the oil spill may lead to bankruptcy for BP. They point out that the company posted a profit of more than $21 billion last year and generates cash flow of $3 billion each month.
"This is money that's available for them to do whatever they want with," says Oppenheimer's Gheit.
So far, BP has spent $1.43 billion to clean up the disaster, and analysts at CSFB estimate that BP will probably end up spending $5-$8 billion on cleanup and containment; or $6-$12 billion after factoring in Clean Water Act liabilities.
If BP also ends up suspending its dividend that would free up another $10 billion, says Gheit.
"BP has incredible financial flexibility," says Gheit. "The demise of BP is greatly exaggerated."
So who are the men who are shepherding BP through this crisis? ABC News.com took a look at the top executives on the front lines. Their pay was calculated by Equilar, an executive compensation research firm, based on public filings.
2009 Total Compensation: $14.3 million.
An outspoken Brit with a Ph.D. in geology, Hayward joined BP in 1982 as a rig geologist in the North Sea. He was thrust into the top job three years ago, after long-standing CEO John Browne resigned following a scandal involving a gay relationship with a Canadian escort. While Hayward sometimes comes across as arrogant, those who know him says he's friendly, smart and easygoing. He does, however, have a penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
One-liner: "I'd like my life back," he told a television reporter in June. Angry Americans retorted that the 11 workers who died in the Deepwater Horizon fire would probably like their lives back too.
Total 2009 Compensation: $9.7 million.
The second most powerful man at BP after Hayward, Inglis is a considered a quiet, competent manager. With a Master's Degree in engineering, he joined BP in 1980 and quickly climbed the ranks. He now runs the division that produces the vast majority of BP's revenues.
One-liner: "We don't do simple things," he told BusinessWeek in September 2009, discussing BP's risky drilling projects around the world.
Total 2009 Compensation: $6.4 million.
One of the few Americans in the top ranks, Dudley joined BP through the merger with Amoco, which he had worked for since the late 1970s. Put in charge of tough assignments, Dudley was first charged with managing BP's Russian joint venture earlier this decade, and is now responsible for BP's new unit created to deal with the financial fallout of the oil spill.
One-liner: "It's unprecedented… And no one wants to find out more than we do why that's happened and make sure it never, ever happens again anywhere," he told PBS television in May.
Total 2009 Compensation: $9.1 million.
A native of Scotland, Conn was appointed to his current post in 2007. He began his career with BP in 1986, working in myriad production and exploration roles in Italy, Colombia and the U.S.
Earlier this month, Conn said BP was the best company to handle a Gulf of Mexico spill because of its large presence in the region, according to Dow Jones.