Avalanche victim still missing: Gage presumed dead; Bowles remembered

Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ConocoPhillips Alaska President Jim Bowles, who was killed in an avalanche in the Grandview wilderness area Saturday, was no stranger to the Kenai Peninsula, a company spokesperson says.

Photo Provided By Conocophillips
Photo Provided By Conocophillips
Jim Bowles lends his signature to the banner congratulating the Tyonek Platform employees and contractors for achieving OSHA VPP status in 2007.

"Before he became president of ConocoPhillips Alaska, he was president of the Americas Division of Phillips Petroleum from 1997 to 2002, and had oversight of the Kenai LNG Plant," said Natalie Lowman, spokesperson for ConocoPhillips Alaska.

Poor weather conditions have prevented the search for Alan Gage, 39, part of ConocoPhillips' capital projects team in Anchorage, who was snowmachining with Bowles, Alaska State Troopers say. He is presumed dead.

Lowman said Bowles was particularly proud of the 40-year anniversary of the plant last year, a milestone he attributed to the work ethic and commitment of the employees there.

Bowles was also pleased with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's recognition of the Beluga River gas field and the North Cook Inlet Tyonek platform certifications for outstanding commitment to safety, Lowman said.

He also supported funding for several community projects on the Peninsula like the Kenai Watershed Forum Building, creek restoration for improved salmon habitat, the Russian/Kenai River Stream Watch, and the Peninsula Winter Games.

Bowles, 57, was part of a group of snowmachiners recreating in the area of the Chugach National Forest between Moose Pass and Portage. Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said avalanche mitigation will have to be done before the search can continue.

"Right now we're waiting for a break in weather before we get out there," Peters said. "It looks like Wednesday is going to be the earliest break in weather for us."

Helene Harding, Vice-President of ConocoPhillips' North Slope Operations and Development, is assuming all operations for ConocoPhillips Alaska, Lowman said. Operations at the Kenai LNG Plant are not affected.

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at news@peninsulaclarion.com.

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