Embracing Change: The Journey of Andy Wood in the Energy Sector

Andy Wood, CEO of Primeval Energy, embodies a unique blend of passion, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of efficiency. His journey from the oil rigs of the North Sea to the forefront of geothermal energy is a testament to his unwavering commitment to both his career and the environment. This article delves into Andy’s inspiring journey, his vision for the future of energy, and his philosophy on leadership and success.

A Cornish Eco-Warrior’s Beginnings

Andy Wood describes himself today as a “Cornish vegetarian eco-warrior,” a phrase that might seem paradoxical given his extensive career in the oil and gas industry. His story begins with a deep-seated love for geology, ignited during his school days and further cultivated at Queen Mary University of London, where he pursued a degree in Earth Science. Unlike many of his peers who had clear and focused career paths, Andy’s journey was far from meticulously planned. A serendipitous encounter with a friend working on oil rigs led him to his first job as a junior geologist, or mud logger, in the North Sea.

“I was in my element,” he recalls. The combination of a relaxed yet professional environment, coupled with the thrill and unique experience of working at sea, was the perfect fit for Andy. Over the next eleven years, he progressed steadily, becoming an oil company geological representative. In this role, he found himself not only working on rigs but also in offices, where he was responsible for planning and overseeing various drilling operations from a geological perspective. This period was marked by significant professional growth and a deepening of his technical expertise in the field.

Embracing Efficiency and Innovation

A significant turning point in Andy’s career came during his tenure at Talisman Energy in Aberdeen. The company’s philosophy of incorporating efficiency into every aspect of its operations captivated him. “They described themselves as a ‘low-cost operator.’ A philosophy which completely caught my imagination and interest,” Andy explains. This approach aligned perfectly with his own ideals of optimization and resourcefulness. His responsibilities at Talisman included the establishment of geological operations in Norway, a task that involved building and managing a team of outstanding professionals who shared his commitment to operational excellence.

Later, Andy managed a team focused on East Africa, where they applied the same principles of efficiency and waste reduction. This approach proved to be highly effective and rewarding. The success of these operations, particularly the drilling of nearly 100 wells across Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia, stands out as a highlight of Andy’s career. This period was marked by innovative strategies and significant achievements in terms of productivity and cost-effectiveness.

However, as the oil and gas industry began to slow, Andy found himself at a crossroads. The industry’s boom-and-bust cycles were becoming increasingly pronounced, leading him to consider new avenues where his skills could be applied. This exploration eventually guided him toward the renewable energy sector, an area where he saw immense potential for growth and positive environmental impact.

Transitioning to Renewable Energy

Despite his lifelong commitment to environmentalism, Andy found the transition to renewable energy to be a challenging endeavour. Wind and solar technologies, although vital to the renewable energy landscape, felt unfamiliar and distant from his core expertise. However, geothermal energy resonated deeply with him. “My love for the environment and desire to apply my optimization skills naturally pointed me at geothermal energy,” he explains. This field offered a unique intersection of his environmental passion and his technical proficiency.

At the age of 52, Andy sought career advice to navigate this transition effectively. He turned to LinkedIn, leveraging the platform for its educational and networking opportunities. This strategic move allowed him to expand his knowledge and connect with industry professionals, ultimately aiding his entry into the geothermal sector.

His persistent efforts bore fruit when he secured a position at a UK-based geothermal energy company. As Subsurface Manager, Andy was able to transfer and apply his extensive oil and gas expertise to this new domain. He focused on optimizing processes and reducing costs, proving that his skills were not only transferable but also highly valuable in the geothermal industry. This role provided him with invaluable experience and insights, laying a solid foundation for the next significant phase of his career.

Founding Primeval Energy

In Q4 2023, Andy, along with some talented friends, took a bold step forward by establishing Primeval Energy Ltd., the UK’s first technology-agnostic geothermal company. This innovative approach allows the company to explore and implement various geothermal technologies without being tied to a single method. “Success is the privilege of working with a devoted group of people who inherently understand the mission our company is focused on achieving,” Andy asserts. For him, success transcends mere end goals; it encompasses the entire journey and the dynamics within the team.

At Primeval, Andy’s role is multifaceted. He functions as a cheerleader, evangelist, business development representative, strategist and administrator. “Leadership of the senior management team at Primeval is something I haven’t quite come to terms with. They are consummate professionals, all successful in their own disciplines. They have been gracious in their adoption of me as CEO. I repay their trust by being communicative, transparent and inclusive. It’s the least I can do to acknowledge their support.” This approach ensures that every team member is well-informed and engaged, fostering a collaborative and supportive work environment.

Under Andy’s guidance, Primeval Energy aims to harness the potential of geothermal energy across various applications. By remaining technology-agnostic, the company can adapt and innovate, exploring new solutions and approaches as the industry evolves. This flexibility and commitment to excellence are driving forces behind Primeval Energy’s mission to contribute to a more sustainable and efficient energy future.

Pioneering Tomorrow: Andy Wood’s Bold Vision for Primeval Energy

Andy’s vision for Primeval Energy is nothing short of ambitious and forward-thinking. The company is poised to revolutionize the global energy landscape by harnessing all types of geothermal energy. Their goal is to provide direct heat for various applications and geothermal power, while significantly reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

One particularly innovative approach that Primeval Energy is exploring is the conversion of end-of-life oil and gas wells into geothermal producers—a concept they refer to as “Geothermal Alchemy.” This revolutionary idea not only mitigates environmental liabilities associated with abandoned wells but also transforms them into valuable assets that contribute to sustainable energy production.

“I’m excited to discover which way we go,” Andy remarks, reflecting his openness to innovation and adaptation. Primeval Energy thrives on pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities in the realm of geothermal energy. With a commitment to continuous improvement and a willingness to embrace change, Andy and his team are poised to lead the way towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

Overcoming Obstacles

Andy’s career has been marked by numerous obstacles, both economic and personal. The volatile boom-and-bust cycles of the oil and gas industry led to inevitable periods of unemployment, which he describes as both humbling and educational. “One overcomes this particular obstacle simply by being relentless,” he emphasizes, highlighting the importance of perseverance and tenacity in the face of adversity. These challenging times offered Andy valuable lessons in resilience and adaptability, teaching him to navigate the uncertainties of a fluctuating industry.

In addition to external challenges, Andy acknowledges that he has sometimes been an obstacle to his own career progression. His intense focus on delivering results occasionally led to tunnel vision, where he overlooked the importance of considering the opinions, personalities, and workloads of others. This self-awareness was a crucial turning point in his professional development. Recognizing the need for a more inclusive and empathetic approach, Andy made a conscious effort to listen and collaborate more effectively with his colleagues. “It was an important lesson which I never forget,” he reflects, understanding that personal growth is integral to effective leadership.

These experiences have profoundly shaped Andy’s approach to leadership. He now prioritizes understanding and support within his team, fostering an environment where every member feels valued and heard. This shift has not only enhanced his effectiveness as a leader but also strengthened the overall team dynamic, driving collective success.

Nurturing Harmony: Andy Wood’s Approach to Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a balance between personal and professional life is a common challenge, and Andy is no exception. His deep passion for geothermal energy and the success of Primeval Energy can be all-encompassing, often demanding his full attention and energy. “I’m incredibly lucky in that my wife is Primeval Energy’s number one fan,” he says, acknowledging the significant role she has played in both the company’s inception and his own personal happiness. Her unwavering support and encouragement were instrumental in the formation of Primeval Energy, providing him with the motivation and assurance needed to embark on this ambitious venture.

Despite his dedication to work, Andy understands the critical importance of switching off and finding ways to recharge. To disconnect from the demands of his professional life, he turns to meditation, cooking, and nature walks. These activities offer him a much-needed respite and allow him to maintain a healthy work-life balance. “It is important to switch off. At times I even switch off my phone,” he adds, underscoring the necessity of truly disconnecting from work-related communications to rejuvenate both mentally and physically.

These practices help Andy to clear his mind, reduce stress, and return to work with renewed focus and energy. Whether it’s spending time outdoors, preparing a meal, or engaging in mindfulness exercises, these moments of detachment are crucial for maintaining his well-being and ensuring he can continue to lead effectively. This balanced approach not only benefits Andy personally but also positively impacts his professional performance and leadership at Primeval Energy.

Forging Paths: Personal Goals and Guidance for Aspiring Executives

On a personal level, Andy’s aspirations extend beyond the success of Primeval Energy. He is driven by a desire to contribute to the expansion of the geothermal industry as a whole. Through his leadership at Primeval and his public presentations representing the Geothermal Energy Advancement Association (GEAA), Andy seeks to advocate for the widespread adoption of geothermal energy as a sustainable and viable alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

His message to aspiring executives is clear and succinct: “Be relentless, be exacting, be kind.” This mantra reflects Andy’s own approach to leadership and underscores the importance of perseverance, attention to detail, and empathy in achieving success. Aspiring executives would do well to heed Andy’s advice, recognizing that true leadership is not only about driving results but also about fostering a supportive and inclusive work culture.


The journey from the oil rigs to leading a pioneering geothermal company exemplifies resilience, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability. This narrative, embodied by a figure like Andy Wood, serves as an inspiration to individuals within the energy sector and beyond. Through the establishment of Primeval Energy, a beacon of innovation in geothermal energy emerges, setting a precedent for future leaders to emulate.

Andy’s story underscores a fundamental truth: success transcends mere achievements—it encompasses the journey, the relationships forged, and the lasting impact on the world. As we navigate our own paths, let us draw inspiration from Andy’s example, remembering that our endeavours, no matter how daunting, hold the potential to catalyse meaningful change for generations to come.