After a mysterious fuel leak occurred on a plane carrying Polish energy company leaders in Kazakhstan, there is speculation that the high-profile delegation may have been the victim of foreign intelligence agencies attempting to sabotage the aircraft.
Both the executive Charmin of Poland’s energy giant PKN Orlen, Daniel Obajtek, and CEO of gas conglomerate PGNiG Iwona Waksmundzka-Olejniczak were negotiating a major deal with Kazakhstan that went well beyond the import of oil from the country, and may have been about securing natural gas supplies, according to Polish energy expert and editor of portal BiznesAlert.pl Wojciech Jakóbik,
After the meeting, which took place in Nur-Sultan on June 1, the Polish delegation went straight to the airport. When the pilot switched on the engine, an alarm warned about a serious fuel leakage. The delegation and the crew of the plane were evacuated by airport security and the plane was grounded. Orlen’s management informed Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW) about the incident.
Polish media were interested to note that the head of PGNiG, Iwona Waksmundzka-Olejniczak, was in attendance at the delegation. Her presence was made public as a result of a photograph published on Twitter by the head of Orlen, Daniel Obajtek, during a meeting with KazMunayGas, the state-owned oil and gas company of Kazakhstan, where she can be spotted, fifth from the left.
According to media reports, there is concern that the specific problem the plane faced may have been due to sabotage, with suspicions raised due to the high-level talks in Kazakhstan regarding securing strategic resources for Poland.
KazMunayGaz is one of the biggest oil companies in the Caspian Sea. Oil and gas from the Caspian Sea could form a part of the solution to supply problems after the embargo on Russian oil and the end of Polish imports of Russian gas.
According to Wojciech Jakóbik from BiznesAlert, it looks as if the Poles are looking for an agreement that goes beyond just oil supplies for Orlen, as the presence of the CEO of PGNiG indicates that Poland is likely looking to secure Kazakh gas imports.
Jakóbik believes Poland must explore many suppliers for its energy needs and did not think Kazakhstan was necessarily a key player in that regard. He also noted that although Kazakhstan supplies are not Russian, their transportation depends on the Russian port of Novorossyisk; then there is the rather poor infrastructure in Kazakhstan, which Jakóbik said reminded him of the problems Poland had with the infrastructure at the Możejki refinery in Lithuania after Poland took over that enterprise.