Born and raised in Washington, NJ, Kathleen Neset grew up in a family of nine children, having eight brothers. She graduated from Warren Hills Regional High School in 1974, and then attended Brown University. While at Brown, Kathleen was a member of the Brown Pandas women’s ice hockey team and the women’s soccer team. For Kathleen, studies focused during the first two years as a mathematics major, with classes in education. By the end of the sophomore year, Kathleen changed majors to geology following a great instructor and course in geology, a course that had been taken as an elective. From there – the concentration of studies changed to geology with an emphasis in math and education. In 1978 Kathleen graduated BA Geology from Brown University.
Upon graduation, Kathleen moved to Gaylord, MI to fill a position as Seismologist for United Geophysical. Following a short time in MI, she moved back to NJ and did substitute teaching while interviewing for other geology related work. She interviewed in New York City with Core Laboratories, and secured a position as mudlogger. This position took Kathleen to Dallas, TX to complete a multi-week training program, followed by a rig assignment in East Texas. From there, Core Lab reassigned Kathleen to Casper, Wyoming – beginning the trek north and into the Rocky Mountain Region and geology of the northern plains. Kathleen worked extensively in the various oilfields of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska, and in the summer of 1979 was assigned to a well southeast of Bismarck, ND, near the town of Linton.
The first well in North Dakota, introduced Kathleen to what was to become a lifetime of love – love for the great state of North Dakota, and a guy named Roy Neset. Work took Kathleen back to Wyoming, but was reassigned by Core Laboratories to a well south of Tioga, ND in the winter of 1979. At the time of the late 1970’s the oilfield was booming, and Kathleen left Core Laboratories to take a position as mud engineer for Wyo Bend in Williston, ND. Kathleen trained at a mud engineering lab in Billings, MT and then returned to begin work in the Williston Basin as a mud engineer. At the same time, the work near Tioga brought Kathleen back to North Dakota and the Roy Neset family homestead area. Roy and Kathleen were reacquainted in the winter of 1979 and were married in September 1980.
After a short stint as mud engineer, Kathleen then changed jobs and went to work for Moore and Associates, beginning the first work as wellsite geologist. After one well for Penzoil in the Bull Moose field in ND, Kathleen then stepped out and began what was to become a lifetime of work as an independent wellsite geologist. Kathleen’s first well as an wellsite geologist was north of Tioga, ND. During the early 1980’s work load was tremendous with rig assignments of as many as three wells being evaluated for geology pay zones at one time. It was an amazing time in the North Dakota oilfields, but one that was soon to come to a halt. By 1982 the drilling and the work load dropped of significantly. During the ensuing years, the Neset family grew with Roy Neset, Jr born in 1981 and Randy Neset born in 1984. Roy and Kathleen Neset formed Neset Enterprises in 1980, the precursor to Neset Consulting Service, Inc. During the 1980’s Roy worked as a wellsite supervisor, and Kathleen worked as wellsite geologist. Some oil companies hired both Roy and Kathleen together, making a wellsite team of company man and geologist.
Drilling slowed through the 1980’s and 1990’s and Roy and Kathleen spent much of these slower oilfield days farming Roy’s family homestead. Geology work continued for Kathleen, and although she became very active in the day to day work of the farm, not a year went by without some oilfield work. It was during this time that Kathleen also spent much of the 1985 -1986 school year filling in as a Tioga High School Science teacher – filling an open position early in the fall of 1985. Other Tioga High School work included most of a year as a temporary business manager. A position on the Tioga School Board for ten years also kept Kathleen closely involved in education.
Oilfield work began to pick up slightly during the early 2000’s and Kathleen began to hire other geologists and individuals to help with the work load. As the demand for wellsite geology crews grew, Kathleen hired more individuals. In 2006, after spending 27 years living on the drilling rigs and working as a wellsite geologist, Kathleen watched her final well as the primary onsite geologist – and made the move to the office in Tioga to manage the crews. This coincided with a move of the Neset Consulting Service office from working out of the farm house, to a small office in Tioga. From that office, a mobile office was added, and eventually a small shop was built to help house the growing Neset Consulting business.
In 2005, after an illness, Roy Neset passed away. Although a difficult time, the family continued expanding the oilfield consulting business. Roy Jr. (RC) and Randy eventually joined in the business full time assisting with the gas detection division and petroleum engineering duties.
Kathleen Neset continued to hire geologists and mudloggers and train them to these positions. A resurgence of activity in 2008, led to a significant increase in crews for Neset Consulting. As the Bakken and Three Forks drilling developed, Neset Consulting Service expanded and today has crews on over 60 drilling rigs in the Williston Basin, Wyoming, and Kansas.
In 2012 Governor Jack Dalrymple appointed Kathleen to the ND State Board of Higher Education. This great honor continues with Kathleen as a member of the Board. Kathleen is also a member of the ND Petroleum Council Executive Board, helping the industry move forward in these exciting times. Of special interest is Kathleen’s passion for educating the public through forums and community meetings.
Kathleen is a member of the Williston API, Dickinson API, BSC Petroleum Technology Advisory Committee, UND Petroleum Engineering Advisory Committee, COE Commission, Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Board, Tioga Golf & Country Club board, and St Thomas Parish Council Secretary.
As the demands of the oilfield expanded the need for more space was realized. In 2012 the construction of the new Neset Consulting Corporate headquarters was begun and the company moved to that location northeast of Tioga in August 2013. Neset Consulting Service currently occupies a 28,000 square foot building, housing offices, shop, lab, conference center, and daycare. Future plans include expanded services to the oil industry to geo-steer and evaluate the Bakken and Three Forks wells, and continue to evaluate other wells, basins, and horizons.