High Power Laser Decommissioning Tool

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OPEN 2018
Littleton, Colorado
Project Term:
08/01/2019 - 07/31/2022

Critical Need:

The nation’s critical energy infrastructure is comprised of aging assets, including old nuclear power plants, thousands of dormant oil and gas wells, miles of pipelines with poor integrity, and hundreds of abandoned offshore platforms. Decommissioning these assets is extremely expensive and risky. They have been built to withstand harsh conditions and last over a long period of time, with little consideration for how they would be dismantled, remediated, or abandoned. Whether planned or in response to disaster, decommissioning these assets requires cutting and melting of extremely thick volumes of various materials, in remote, harsh environments.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Foro Energy will develop a high-power laser tool to assist in removing the extremely tough materials constituting aging energy assets in a timely, cost-effective, safe, and environmentally responsible manner. This cutting and melting tool will be capable of transmitting high-power laser light at long distances in a field environment, greatly boosting decommissioning efficiency.

Potential Impact:

The proposed high power laser decommissioning tool will be able to cut or melt tough materials at high speeds, long distances, and in harsh operating environments. Compared with using conventional technology, such as explosives, abrasives, or mechanical energy:


Foro’s laser tool is safer to use, handle, and transport.


The tool causes far less risk to offshore marine life.


The major cost of abandoning an offshore oil and gas well is the day rate of the rig and how long it will be required for downhole milling, cutting, and perforating. A rig day rate can range from $250,000 to $500,000. Through prelliminary lab testing, Foro’s downhole tool technology has shown projected time savings of 30-50% versus conventional material removal methods.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Isik Kizilyalli
Project Contact:
Mr. Scott Marshall
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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