Education: Bachelors of Science in both Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University
Mike Rumbaugh’s distinguished career in upstream production technology innovation began early in life with a fascination of how things work. As a child, he was more likely to take his toys apart to see how they worked than to play with them.
“Engineering was a natural fit for my curious nature,” he says. “I have always loved the thought of taking an idea and turning it into something useful. Seeing an idea become reality is what drew me into a technology career.”
Technology: Rumbaugh specializes in the research and design of both submersible induction and permanent magnet motors. He helped lead the design and development of a 4.20-in.-diameter induction motor that has an enhanced electromagnetic design to deliver greater power from a smaller diameter motor.
It was developed specifically for unconventional wells drilled and completed with 5-1/2 in., 20 lb and 23 lb casings. The motor–which hit the market in late 2019– will help operators requiring electrical submersible pumping (ESP) systems achieve high production rates early in an unconventional well’s life cycle.
The technology is expected to resolve an unmet need within the sector. As it stands, operators have two options: 4.56-in. motors, which require modifications to fit the aforementioned casing sizes, and 3.75-in. motors that struggle to deliver the necessary horsepower to achieve optimal production rates. Both options introduce potential reliability issues. Modifying 4.56-in. motors can introduce failure points, and the 3.75-in. triple-tandem motor configurations required to produce acceptable horsepower rates increase the risk of installation errors and potential equipment defects with three motors instead of just one.
Career path: Rumbaugh began his career as an applications engineer with Baker Hughes after graduating from Oklahoma State University with bachelor of science degrees in mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering. He spent more than nine years with Baker Hughes, and was ultimately promoted to senior project engineer.
Before joining Apergy in December 2017, he was a senior project engineer at Dover Artificial Lift.
Teamwork: During his career, Rumbaugh has worked with colleague and senior engineer Thien Tran on a variety of notable projects. They were part of a team that created an 8.8-in.-diameter submersible induction motor with a 2,800 hp rating–the highest in the industry. The motor is suited for high-volume deep water, geothermal and mine dewatering applications.
As well, Rumbaugh and Tran helped develop a 250C extreme temperature submersible induction motor designed for the steam-assisted gravity drainage market, where extremely high downhole temperatures required a new approach to the ESP system motor design.
“Their work in electrical submersible motor advancements has and continues to open new opportunities for operators to increase production and reserve recovery, and even makes it possible to tap reserves not producible without their technology advancements,” says Charlie Fowler, Apergy’s vice president of engineering and supply chain. “Mike and Thien have made a significant impact to the oil and gas industry.”
Rumbaugh is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Parting words: Rumbaugh encourages his fellow energy innovators to continue pushing for better ways of working within the industry.
“The oil and gas industry from its inception has pushed the boundaries of technology to meet the world’s energy needs,” he says. “It’s important that we keep questioning the status quo to meet the changing demands on our industry. How can we continue to deliver the energy the world needs and do it more efficiently, safely, and with minimal environmental impact? That’s the next frontier for our business.”