MOSCOW, February 28 - RAPSI. BP Exploration Operating Company Limited has submitted to the court in Tyumen its first application to recover legal fees connected with the process initiated by TNK-BP Holding minority shareholder Andrei Prokhorov, BP representative told the Prime business news agency.

Prokhorov has been trying to recover about $17.25 billion from BP and its board members since last August.

BP submitted to the court an application to recover 22 million rubles ($759,300).

The company intends to continue with the process and file further applications to recover damages incurred due to the BP Moscow offices downtime during searches initiated by the minority shareholders as part of their legal claims.

The damages have been preliminary assessed at 8-10 million rubles ($276,110-$345,140).

BP does not exclude the further submission of lawsuits by other companies comprising the BP Group and the TNK-BP Holding board members involved in the action.

BP, one of six oil and gas "supermajors," and Rosneft, a leading company in Russia's petroleum industry, agreed to a share swap and the joint development of Russia's Arctic shelf in January. However, the AAR Consortium, representing the Russian TNK-BP shareholders, blocked the execution of the agreement. Further negotiations were terminated in June.

Prokhorov believes that if TNK-BP were a member of the strategic partnership then under the swap agreement, it would have purchased about 1.01 billion common shares in Rosneft, which would have grown in value and brought profit to TNK-BP. Thus, the difference between the current fair price of the shares and the price at which TNK-BP would have acquired the stake as a result of the swap constitutes lost profit, he stresses.

In the opinion of BP Russian Investments Limited and BP plc, the claims are groundless in the absence of any loss inflicting event. TNK-BP could never be a member of a strategic partnership for Arctic shelf development because it has never been regarded as such "due to the non-availability of the required competence," which was publicly stated by Rosneft.

The lawsuit against the board members amounted to 87.112 billion rubles ($3 billion) and 409,284 billion rubles ($14.12 billion).