BP boss Tony Hayward met officials from an Abu Dhabi state fund today as hopes for fresh investment and progress towards closing the leaking Macondo oil well lifted the company’s shares.

A United Arab Emirates official said chief executive Hayward had met officials from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) during a routine visit, reports Reuters.

He spoke as speculation mounted about a stake purchase by a Middle East or Asian sovereign wealth fund to help BP ward off takeovers and pay the rising costs of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst in US history.

The UAE official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Hayward’s visit was to discuss BP’s concessions with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), reports Reuters.

BP said it has no plans to issue new equity to anyone, but bankers say the company is on a marketing drive for its stock, which has fallen by 50% since the leak started following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon well on 20 April 2010.