Oil and Gas Networking Website Oilpro Says It’s Shutting Down

Houston—Oilpro, a networking and social media website geared to the oil and gas industry, said Monday it is shutting down operations.

No reason was given for the closure. In an e-mail to members, Oilpro told them they could download any content on their profiles until Wednesday, Aug. 2, after which the site will be taken offline. “We thank you for participating and we hope that Oilpro has made a positive contribution to your career,” the e-mail stated.

Oilpro is one of a handful of companies using social media and networking to target energy workers during a time of generational shift change. As aging baby boomers retire from the industry, tools like social media are being used to attract younger, tech-savvy employees. For example, one such website is Pink Petro, an online community aimed at women in the oil and gas sector, founded by Katie Mehnert in 2014.

Oilpro’s shutdown comes eight months after its founder David Kent pleaded guilty to one count of computer fraud in US District Court, Southern District of New York. Kent agreed to forfeit $2.93 million. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 29 and faces up to 57 months in prison.

According to a court transcript (see PDF below), Kent admitted to hacking into a rival site, Rigzone, to access more than 500,000 user resumes to boost the membership rolls of Oilpro. “I took the resumes for my own commercial advantage to help my business Oilpro,” Kent stated in the transcript. He had previously founded Rigzone and sold it to DHI Group Inc. in New York for $51 million in 2010, according to court documents. Kent left Rigzone in September 2011 and launched Oilpro.com in October 2013, according to an article in Rigzone.

Kent was not immediately available for comment. He has not yet returned a message to his attorney, Dan Cogdell, or another message sent via the contact form at Oilpro.

David Kent Court Transcript by Angela Shah on Scribd

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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